[Python-Dev] Official version support statement

"Martin v. Löwis" martin at v.loewis.de
Sat May 12 12:47:56 CEST 2007

>  > I'm all in favor of formalizing a policy of when Python releases
>  > are produced, and what Python releases, and what kinds of changes
>  > they may contain. However, such a policy should be addressed
>  > primarily to contributors, as a guidance, not to users, as
>  > a promise. So I have problems with both "official" and "support"
>  > still.
> I see your point, but I don't see how you propose to keep the users
> from viewing the guidelines to developers as official policy regarding
> support, albeit hard to interpret.

And that's fine if they do. I don't mind if a statement is considered
official if it is
- a BDFL pronouncement, or
- the result of a PSF board or members vote

Otherwise, it isn't "official". There are other "officers" which
can make official statements, e.g. the release manager can also
make official statements, but anybody else's statement is just
an opinion.

>  > The way we make policy statements is through the PEP process.
> Creating the statement that way is important.  But publishing a PEP is
> not enough.  Non-developer users don't read PEPs.

Right. It's fine to rephrase (para-phrase?) the consensus achieved in a
PEP. However, that rephrasing cannot precede the PEP.

> After thinking about it a bit, I do agree that "maintain" is more
> appropriate than "support" (this is after my reply to Terry Reedy,
> where I wrote that support was OK).  Support implies education and
> adaptation to user needs, but even if that is done by the PSF, it's a
> separate activity from the development and release processes.  

That was exactly my concern about "support". I associate with "support"
that there is a hotline I can call and they will help me. I've used
various support infrastructures in the past years (from Microsoft,
Dell, Veritas/Symantec), and in all cases, "support" meant that
somebody would help me with a specific problem. "Unsupported product"
then means "if you have a problem with that product, we won't help".
There is good and bad support, of course, and I know which companies
provided me good support and which didn't.

There are indeed various support channels for python: comp.lang.python,
python-tutors, and python-help, and none of them have the notion of
"unsupported Python releases". Thing become unsupported by no
volunteer being willing to offer help.

It's also important to understand that the bug tracker is *not*
a means of user support, even though users sometimes mistake it
to be so, and end their "bug report" with a call for help. It's
vice versa: a bug report is a *contribution* by the user, i.e.
a means for giving a gift, not for requesting one.


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