[Python-Dev] Re: Stability and change

François Pinard pinard@iro.umontreal.ca
28 May 2002 13:58:15 -0400

[Guido van Rossum]

> Now consider my frustration.  We go through a *lot* of efforts to make
> consecutive releases backwards compatible, to document changes, to
> introduce warnings about future incompatible changes, etc.

Yes, I quite understand how frustrating it may be for you, and I do witness
the results of all these efforts.  The Python documentation is of high
quality, rather complete, and very abundant for whoever looks around a
tiny bit.  In my own experience, migrating has been a breeze all over.

> Is it not fair that I ask you to provide more details or shut up?

Not only fair, but also easier: providing details is natural for me!
I sometimes fear being perceived as a nit-picker.  On one hand, I met many
maintainers who like detailed reports on little things! :-).  On the other
hand, I've seen a few maintainers getting furious, and this is no fun.

> [...] most users don't read the manuals even once

You may be right.  But then, they miss something! :-)

> Example: the possibility to write list.append(a, b, c, ...) was never
> documented, yet it caused widespread complaints when we disallowed it.

*This* is frustrating, indeed.  Wandering outside specs is a capital sin[1].
(This is why, for example, I find that most current HTML usage is horrible.)
I wonder if, in your place, I would be so soft with users :-).

[1] Don't throw the first stone, they say!  For one, I routinely abuse of
immediate automatic finalisation in C-Python, but _only_ after Tim told me
it will never go away.  Still, there is no promise of this in the manual :-).

François Pinard   http://www.iro.umontreal.ca/~pinard