[Python-Dev] Official version support statement

Terry Reedy tjreedy at udel.edu
Thu May 10 18:53:29 CEST 2007

"Barry Warsaw" <barry at python.org> wrote in message 
news:343F26A5-7DFE-4757-BA4D-2A666CE85215 at python.org...
| Hash: SHA1
| This came up in a different context.  I originally emailed this to
| the python.org admins, but Aahz rightly points out that we should
| first agree here that this actually /is/ our official stance.
| - -----snip-----
| We have an "official unofficial" policy of supporting only Python
| 2.current and 2.(current - 1), and /not/ supporting anything earlier.
| Do we already have an official statement to this effect on the
| website?  The closest thing I could find was on the download page,
| but that's not really definitive.
| What do you think about adding something like the following to the
| top of the download page:
| "The Python Software Foundation officially supports the current
| stable major release and one prior major release.  Currently, Python
| 2.5 and 2.4 are officially supported.  Where appropriate and
| necessary, patches for earlier releases may be made available, but no
| earlier versions are officially supported by the PSF.  We do not make
| releases of unsupported versions, although patched versions may
| become available through other vendors."

This strikes me as a bit over-officious (the 'officially' adds nothing to 
me except a bit of stuffiness).

Worse, it seems wrong and hence, to me, misleading.  The current de facto 
policy is that when a new major release comes out, there is a *final* 
minor, bugfix release of the previous major version.  Thus, 2.5 is being 
supported while 2.6 is being worked on.  As I understand it, there are no 
more plans to touch 2.4 than 2.3 and so on.  So the current message is: 
"If you want a 2.5 bug fixed, find it, report it, and help get it fixed now 
before 2.6 is released."

I am aware that if a trustworthy person or persons were to backport some 
substantial numbers of fixes from 2.5 to 2.4, greenlight the test suite on 
several systems, cut release candidates, and repond to reports, the file 
would appear on the official Python site.  But currently, as far as I know, 
this 'support' is as empty as the Official Help-Yourself Plate of Donated 
Cookies on my kitchen table.

The reason, is seems to me, that prior major releases do not get support is 
that they do not much need it.  For practical purposes, core CPython is 
pretty  much bug free.  Module bugs get reported and fixed or worked 
around.  Old users can upgrade if they want fixes that appear later.  And 
new users generally start with the current major release.

Terry Jan Reedy

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