[Python-Dev] Proposal to revert r54204 (splitext change)

glyph at divmod.com glyph at divmod.com
Thu Mar 15 20:17:49 CET 2007

On 05:51 pm, pje at telecommunity.com wrote:
>At 07:45 AM 3/15/2007 +0100, Martin v. Löwis wrote:
>>I apparently took the same position that you now take back then,
>>whereas I'm now leaning towards (or going beyond) the position
>>Tim had back then, who wrote "BTW, if it *weren't* for the code 
>>I'd be in favor of doing this."
>If it weren't for the code breakage, I'd be in favor too.  That's not 
>The point is that how can Python be stable as a language if precedents 
>be reversed without a migration plan, just because somebody changes 
>mind?  In another five years, will you change your mind again, and 
>to put this back the way it was?

Hear, hear.  Python is _not_ stable as a language.  I have Java programs 
that I wrote almost ten years ago which still run perfectly on the 
latest runtime.  There is python software I wrote two years ago which 
doesn't work right on 2.5, and some of the Python stuff contemporary 
with that Java code won't even import.
>Speaking as a business person, that seems to me... unwise.  When I 
>out that this change had been checked in despite all the opposition, my 
>reaction was, "I guess I can't rely on Python any more", despite 10 
>of working with it, developing open source software with it, and
>contributing to its development.  Because from a *business* 
>this sort of flip-flopping means that moving from one "minor" Python
>version to another is potentially *very* costly.

And indeed it is.  Python's advantages in terms of rapidity of 
development have, thus far, made up the difference for me, but it is 
threatening to become a close thing.  This is a severe problem and 
something needs to be done about it.
>But as you are so fond of pointing out, there is no "many people". 
>are only individual people.  That a majority want it one way, means 
>there is a minority who want it another.  If next year, it becomes more
>popular to have it the other way, will we switch again?  If a majority 
>people want braces and required type declarations, will we add them?

And, in fact, there is not even a majority.  There is a *perception* of 
a majority.  There isn't even a *perception* of a majority of Python 
users, but a perception of a majority of python-dev readers, who are 
almost by definition less risk-averse when it comes to language change 
than anyone else!

If we actually care about majorities, let's set up a voting application 
and allow Python users to vote on each and every feature, and publicize 
it each time such a debate comes up.  Here, I'll get it started:


According to that highly scientific study, at this point in time, 
"Nobody disagrees" :).  (One in favor, zero against.)
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