[Doc-SIG] Re: [Python-Dev] Documentation packages

Fred L. Drake, Jr. fdrake at acm.org
Wed Oct 1 16:24:15 EDT 2003

Dethe Elza writes:
 > While Windows users may have trouble with *.bz2, and be unfamiliar 
 > enough with the extension *.tgz to not even try (even if it does work), 
 > I've never known a *nix box to have trouble with *.zip or known a unix 
 > user who had trouble with *.zip.  So I'd suggest keeping the various 
 > flavors of documentation, but standardize on zip compression.  That 
 > will at least remove one variable.

At this point, the bzip2 compression has been the most-requested (in
terms of emails begging us to add it); the most important aspect that
makes it desirable is that the file sizes are so much better.  From
this perspective, ZIP files are the worst for the formats which cause
a lot of individual files to be packaged (most importantly, the HTML
and LaTeX source formats).  There are still a lot of people who want
to pull the files over slow links that this seems valuable, at least
for those two formats.  (It may be that it's *only* valuable for those
formats, and can be dropped for the PDF and PostScript formats.)

 > I agree that the main point of all of this is to reduce confusion for 
 > the newbie coming to the site to download it.  But 90% of those are 
 > going to be windows users, and the rest of us have gotten used to 
 > living in a windows-dominated world.  Using bz2 may get you better 
 > compression and save bandwidth, but it wasn't standard the last time I 
 > installed RedHat or Debian.  Zip has it's faults, but everybody is 
 > familiar with it.

Interesting; I don't recall the last time I had to build my own
bzip2.  I'm pretty sure I didn't do anything special to get it on
RedHat recently.  The bandwidth savings aren't nearly so valuable to
python.org as they are to end users on metered internet connections;
those are the users who were so incredibly vocal that we actually
started posting those.


Fred L. Drake, Jr.  <fdrake at acm.org>
PythonLabs at Zope Corporation

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