[Python-Dev] Re: Stability and change

Guido van Rossum guido@python.org
Mon, 08 Apr 2002 10:01:17 -0400

> > > Isn't this dangerous?  Build config seems very delicate to me.
> > Bloody hell yes.
> <aol>me too</aol>. I know I try to build releases on everything I can
> get hold of (the cf.sf.net machines, the dec^Wdigital^Wcompaq^Wwhoever
> testdrive boxes), but that's a whole lot of work. And that's not including
> the, ahem, less unixish Unixes like AIX and HP/UX. Unless it's a platform
> to which I have a lot of exposure (and in the last few years that's been
> mostly linux and solaris), I'm not going to try and make this stuff work.
> > This is a real issue.  There are build fixes for AIX 3 on sf for 221;
> > they're not going in because I'm scared that they'll break something
> > else.
> *nod* Yep. The chances of a build fix going in that's not completely
> and utterly clearly the Right Thing to do is almost nil. And given that
> the number of people who are actually willing to _test_ builds (as 
> opposed to just bitch about how it doesn't do exactly what they want)
> is almost nil, I can't see this changing. 

All that is true, and yet, backporting portability might be important:
as an old release ages, it's likely that new portability issues pop
up, as new versions of Linux, AIX, HPUX appear.

One thing that should be relatively easy is backporting the
configure.in file.  This is pretty much independent from the rest of
Python; the only time when it wouldn't work would be if we stop
defining a certain symbol because we don't need it any more.  I expect
that's very rare, because most symbols exist to deal with a specific
portability issue, not with a specific Python feature.

The testing is a problem, but if we can test 2.3 on platform X, it
shouldn't be too hard to test 2.1.3 there, too.

--Guido van Rossum (home page: http://www.python.org/~guido/)