[Python-Dev] Patch Req. # 1351020 & 1351036: PythonD modifications

Guido van Rossum guido at python.org
Mon Nov 28 18:11:13 CET 2005

On 11/20/05, "Martin v. Löwis" <martin at v.loewis.de> wrote:
> decker at dacafe.com wrote:
> > The local python community here in Sydney indicated that python.org is
> > only upset when groups port the source to 'obscure' systems and *don't*
> > submit patches... It is possible that I was misinformed.
> I never heard such concerns. I personally wouldn't notice if somebody
> ported Python, and did not feed back the patches.

I guess that I'm the source of that sentiment.

My reason for wanting people to contribute ports back is that if they
don't, the port is more likely to stick on some ancient version of
Python (e.g. I believe Nokia is still at 2.2.2). Then, assuming the
port remains popular, its users are going to pressure developers of
general Python packages to provide support for old versions of Python.

While I agree that maintaining port-specific code is a pain whenever
Python is upgraded, I still think that accepting patches for
odd-platform ports is the better alternative. Even if the patches
deteriorate as Python evolves, they should still (in principle) make a
re-port easier.

Perhaps the following compromise can be made: the PSF accepts patches
from reputable platform maintainers. (Of course, like all
contributions, they must be of high quality and not break anything,
etc., before they are accepted.) If such patches cause problems with
later Python versions, the PSF won't maintain them, but instead invite
the original contributors (or other developers who are interested in
that particular port) to fix them. If there is insufficient response,
or if it comes too late given the PSF release schedule, the PSF
developers may decide to break or remove support for the affected

There's a subtle balance between keeping too much old cruft and being
too aggressive in removing cruft that still serves a purpose for
someone. I bet that we've erred in both directions at times.

> Sometimes, people ask "there is this and that port, why isn't it
> integrated", to which the answer is in most cases "because authors
> didn't contribute". This is not being upset - it is merely a fact.
> This port (djgcc) is the first one in a long time (IIRC) where
> anybody proposed rejecting it.
> > I am not sure about the future myself. DJGPP 2.04 has been parked at beta
> > for two years now. It might be fair to say that the *general* DJGPP
> > developer base has shrunk a little bit. But the PythonD userbase has
> > actually grown since the first release three years ago. For the time
> > being, people get very angry when the servers go down here :-)
> It's not that much availability of the platform I worry about, but the
> commitment of the Python porter. We need somebody to forward bug
> reports to, and somebody to intervene if incompatible changes are made.
> This person would also indicate that the platform is no longer
> available, and hence the port can be removed.

It sounds like Ben Decker is for the time being volunteering to
provide patches and to maintain them. (I hope I'm reading you right,
Ben.) I'm +1 on accepting his patches, *provided* as always they pass
muster in terms of general Python development standards. (Jeff Epler's
comments should be taken to heart.)

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

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