[Python-Dev] Python and the Linux Standard Base (LSB)
imurdock at imurdock.com
Wed Nov 22 17:09:35 CET 2006
Guido van Rossum suggested I send this email here.
I'm CTO of the Free Standards Group and chair of the Linux Standard
Base (LSB), the interoperability standard for the Linux distributions.
We're wanting to add Python to the next version of the LSB (LSB 3.2) 
and are looking for someone (or, better, a few folks) in the Python
community to help us lead the effort to do that. The basic goal
is to standardize the Python environment compliant Linux distributions
(Red Hat, SUSE, Debian, Ubuntu, etc.) provide so that
application developers can write LSB compliant applications in Python.
The first question we have to answer is: What does it mean to "add
Python to the LSB"? Is it enough to say that Python is present
at a certain version and above, or do we need to do more than that
(e.g., many distros ship numerous Python add-ons which apps
may or may not rely on--do we need to specific some of these too)? What
would be the least common denominator version? Answering this question
will require us to look at the major Linux distros (RHEL,
SLES, Debian, Ubuntu, etc.) to see what versions they ship. And so on.
Once we've decided how best to specify that Python is present, how
do we test that it is indeed present? Of course, there's the existing
Python test suites, so there shouldn't be a lot of work to do here.
Another question is how to handle binary modules. The LSB provides strict
backward compatibility at the binary level, even across major versions, and
that may or may not be appropriate for Python. The LSB is mostly concerned
with backward compatibility from an application developer's point of view,
and this would seem to mean largely 100% Python, whereas C extensions would
seem to be largely the domain of component developers, such as Python
access to Gtk or other OS services (here, we'd probably look to add those
components to the LSB directly rather than specifying the Python ABI so
they can be maintained separately). Of course I could be wrong about this.
Anyway, as you can see, there are numerous issues to work out here. If
anyone is interested in getting involved, please drop me a line, and I'd be
happy to answer any questions (discussion on any of the topics above would
be welcomed as well). Finally, for any Python developers in and
around Berlin, the LSB is holding its next face to face meeting in Berlin
December 4-6, where the LSB 3.2 roadmap will be finalized. If you could
find some time to stop by and talk with us, we would deeply appreciate it:
"Don't look back--something might be gaining on you." --Satchel Paige
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