[Python-Dev] python-dev Summary for 2003-10-01 through 2003-10-15 [draft]

Brett C. bac at OCF.Berkeley.EDU
Sat Oct 18 23:38:21 EDT 2003

python-dev Summary for 2003-10-01 through 2003-10-15
This is a summary of traffic on the `python-dev mailing list`_ from 
October 1, 2003 through October 15, 2003.  It is intended to inform the 
wider Python community of on-going developments on the list.  To comment 
on anything mentioned here, just post to `comp.lang.python`_ (or email 
python-list at python.org which is a gateway to the newsgroup) with a 
subject line mentioning what you are discussing. All python-dev members 
are interested in seeing ideas discussed by the community, so don't 
hesitate to take a stance on something.  And if all of this really 
interests you then get involved and join `python-dev`_!

This is the twenty-seventh summary written by Brett Cannon (about to 
turn a quarter century old; so young yet so wise =).

All summaries are archived at http://www.python.org/dev/summary/ .

Please note that this summary is written using reStructuredText_ which 
can be found at http://docutils.sf.net/rst.html .  Any unfamiliar 
punctuation is probably markup for reST_ (otherwise it is probably 
regular expression syntax or a typo =); you can safely ignore it, 
although I suggest learning reST; it's simple and is accepted for `PEP 
markup`_ and gives some perks for the HTML output.  Also, because of the 
wonders of programs that like to reformat text, I cannot guarantee you 
will be able to run the text version of this summary through Docutils_ 
as-is unless it is from the original text file.

.. _PEP Markup: http://www.python.org/peps/pep-0012.html

The in-development version of the documentation for Python can be found 
at http://www.python.org/dev/doc/devel/ and should be used when looking 
up any documentation on something mentioned here.  PEPs (Python 
Enhancement Proposals) are located at http://www.python.org/peps/ .  To 
view files in the Python CVS online, go to 
http://cvs.sourceforge.net/cgi-bin/viewcvs.cgi/python/ .  Reported bugs 
and suggested patches can be found at the SourceForge_ project page.

.. _python-dev: http://www.python.org/dev/
.. _SourceForge: http://sourceforge.net/tracker/?group_id=5470
.. _python-dev mailing list: 
.. _comp.lang.python: http://groups.google.com/groups?q=comp.lang.python
.. _Docutils: http://docutils.sf.net/
.. _reST:
.. _reStructuredText: http://docutils.sf.net/rst.html

.. contents::

.. _last summary: 

Summary Announcements
Python-dev had a major explosion in emails thanks to some proposed 
changes to list.sort (summarized in `Decorate-sort-undecorate eye for 
the list.sort guy`_).  That got covered.  Some behind-the-scenes stuff 
that would not interest the general Python community was left out for my 
personal sanity.

It looks like I will not have major issues continuing writing the 
Summaries in terms of school interfering.  The only big issue will be 
how long past their closure date does it take me to get them out.  In 
other words, unless my schoolwork load suddenly becomes heavy 
continuously I should be able to keep doing the Summaries until my 
personal sanity gives out.

This summary is brought to you the song "Insanity_" by `Liz Phair`_ and 
"`Harder to Breathe`_" by `Maroon 5`_.

.. _Insanity: 
.. _Liz Phair: 
.. _Harder to Breathe: 
.. _Maroon 5: 

I gave a talk at PyCon 2004 and all I got was respect and admiration
I summarized this last month, but this is important so I am doing it 
again (and will continue to mention it until no more proposals are being 
accepted).  PyCon_
is ramping up for 2004 and is putting out a `Call for Proposals`_. 
Since PyCon is meant to be very broad-reaching you can propose anything 
from a scientific paper to a tutorial.

If you have any inkling to give a talk please send in a proposal.  It 
can't be rough, the key is that what you want to discuss can be 
understood from the proposal.  So take a look at the link and consider 
coming to PyCon as a speaker and not just a attendee.

.. _PyCon: http://www.python.org/pycon/dc2004/
.. _Call for Proposals: http://www.python.org/pycon/dc2004/cfp.html

Contributing threads:
   `PyCon DC 2004: Call for Proposals 

Web-SIG started
As stated on the SIGs page, "The Python `Web SIG`_ is dedicated to 
improving Python's support for interacting with World Wide Web services 
and clients."  If there is some web-related functionality that you think 
Python should, this is the place to discuss it.  If you think an 
existing Python module could stand a redesign then this is the proper 
forum for your ideas.

.. _Web SIG: http://www.python.org/sigs/web-sig/

Contributing threads:
   `Any movement on a SIG for web lib enchancements? 

I have seen the future and it includes 2.3.3
Anthony Baxter, release manager for Python `2.3.1`_ and `2.3.2`_, is 
already planning a 2.3.3 release in about three months time.  He 
initially suggested that the goal of this release should be to have 
Python build on as many platforms as possible.

Michael Hudson listed "HPUX/ia64, various oddities on Irix" as the major 
troublemakers.  He suggested that a sustained push to fix these build 
problems happen instead of trying to do it last-minute.  Michael also 
thought it would be a good idea to try to find experts on the trouble 
platforms instead of having someone getting access to some machine and 
floundering since they don't know the OS.

Skip Montanaro quickly chimed in with 
http://www.python.org/cgi-bin/moinmoin/PythonTesters which is a wiki 
page that lists people who are available to help with testing on various 
OSs.  Please have a look and if you think you could help out on an OS 
add yourself.

.. _2.3.1: http://www.python.org/2.3.1/
.. _2.3.2: http://www.python.org/2.3.2/

Contributing threads:
   `2.3.3 plans 

Helping you help us
In response to Martin v. Löwis' email on how to handle patches, Michael 
Bartl expressed his disappointment that nothing had happened to his 
patches.  It was explained to him that because of time restraints on 
python-dev that it can take time for people to get to all of the 
patches, but that his work was greatly appreciated and would eventually 
be looked at.

The question of searching on SourceForge_ through the tracker items also 
came up.  There is a search box on the left side of the page, but it is 
not extensive.  Better than nothing.

I also posted an essay I wrote that is meant to act as a guide to how 
Python is developed and how anyone can help with the development 
regardless of abilities.  You can look at the email below in the "Draft 
of an essay on Python development" thread referenced below in 
"Contributing threads".  Hopefully it will end up on python.org once it 
is in its final form.

Contributing threads:
   `Patches & Bug help revisited 
   `Draft of an essay on Python development (and how to	help) 

Making DLLs fatter for lower file dependency
Thomas Heller suggested adding more modules to the Windows DLL as 
built-in so as to cut back on the number of files required to get Python 
to run (py2exe_ stands to benefit from this).  The issue of having a 
larger DLL to have to load into memory was brought up, but Martin v. 
Löwis said that DLLs only load into memory what is needed to run and not 
the entire DLL.

The issue of making the overall DLL larger in terms of disk space was 
brought up, but the worry was partially minimized when the list of 
modules to add was limited to small modules that do not have external 

But zlib might break that last rule in order to allow importation from 
compressed zip files.  The idea of integrating the zlib source into the 
Python tree was brought up, but shot down for licensing issues on top of 
keeping the code synchronized.

.. _py2exe: http://py2exe.sf.net/

Contributing threads:
   `buildin vs. shared modules 

Decorate-sort-undecorate eye for the list.sort guy
Raymond Hettinger suggested adding built-in support for the 
decorate-sort-undecorate (DSU) sorting idiom to list.sort (see the 
Python Cookbook recipe at 
http://aspn.activestate.com/ASPN/Cookbook/Python/Recipe/52234 which is 
recipe 2.3 in the dead tree version or Tim Peters' intro to chapter 2 
for details on the idiom).  After a long discussion on the technical 
merits of various ways to do this, list.sort gained the keyword 
arguments 'key' and 'reverse'.

'key' takes in a function that accepts one argument and returns what the 
item should be sorted based on.  So running ``[(0,0), (0,2), 
(0,1)].sort(key=lambda x: x[1])`` will sort the list based on the second 
item in each tuple.  Technically the sort algorithm just runs the item 
it is currently looking at through the function and then handles the 
sorting.  This avoids having to actually allocate another list.

'reverse' does what it sounds like based on whether its argument is true 
or false.

list.sort also became guaranteed to be stable (this include 'reverse').

A discussion of whether list.sort should return self came up and was 
*very* quickly squashed by Guido.  The idea of having a second method, 
though, that did sort and returned a copy of the sorted list is still 
being considered.

Contributing threads:

New Python 2.3.2 Windows binary
Some invalid DLLs made it into the 2.3.2 Windows binary distribution by 
accident.  It seems to mostly affect Windows 98 and NT 4 users.  The 
binary has been fixed and put up online.  You can tell if you downloaded 
the fixed version by checking the filename; the new one is named 
Python-2.3.2-1.exe (notice the "-1").

Contributing threads:
   `Python-2.3.2 windows binary screwed 

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