[Python-Dev] rationale for the no-new-features approach

Jim Fulton jim at zope.com
Wed Mar 9 16:38:12 CET 2005

+1 (wish * could say +sys.maxint).

To emphasize:

- We want people to update to bug fix releases quickly. For people
   to do that, they need to know the risk of breakage is low.  Reducing the
   scope of the release is important for that.

- Python has gotten much better at this than it used to be.  I remember the
   days when major features in 3rd-dot releases caused major headaches for us.
   I think that made Python look bad.


Anthony Baxter wrote:
> So it's only fair that I write down my rationale for why I'm being anal
> about the no-new-features approach. Comments are more than welcome -
> ideally, after discussion, I'll put some more words in the bugfix PEP.
> Goal 1: When we cut a bugfix release, people will upgrade to it.
>   - This helps the users (they have bugs fixed)
>   - This helps us (python-dev) because people won't be logging
>     bugs against already-fixed-bugs.
>   - This makes us (Python) look good, because people using 
>     Python have the most bug-free experience possible.
> Goal 2: Packagers of Python will package up releases of Python
>             that are as close to the "official" release as possible.
>   - This, to me, is a huge win. If we don't have to worry about 
>     whether someone is running 2.4.1, or DistroFoo's version of 
>     2.4.1 with a couple of backported fixes from 2.4.2, or some 
>     other horrible frankenstein's monster of a release, it makes 
>     our lives much easier. (This is also why I've been on a bit of
>     a stomping exercise to attempt to get distros that broke Python
>     into pieces to stop doing this (notably, Debian/Ubuntu's distutils-
>     in-python-devel pain))
>   - And yes, we're always going to have the problem of some distros
>     stuck on old Python releases (Redhat -> Python 1.5.2, Debian stable
>     -> Python 2.1, &c) but we can hopefully encourage them to at least 
>     roll out the latest bugfix version of whatever version they're stuck on.
> Goal 3: Good PR.
>   - I've read a disturbing amount of words about other
>     languages (*cough*Java*cough*) that have no sanity about
>     minor and major releases. This seems to piss people off a
>     great deal. One of Python's selling points is that we're very
>     cautious and a suitable choice for grownups to use in business.
>   - This is good for us (Python community) because it makes it
>     less likely we'll be stuck in a job where we're forced to code 
>     Perl, or C++, or Java, or some other horrible fate. It also boosts
>     the size of the community, meaning that there will be more 
>     volunteers to work on Python (hurrah!)
> Goal 4: Try and prevent something like
>             try:
>                   True, False
>             except NameError:
>                   True, False = 1, 0
>             from ever ever happening again. 
>   - This, I hope, needs no further explanation <wink>
> Anthony

Jim Fulton           mailto:jim at zope.com       Python Powered!
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