[Python-Dev] PEP 385: the eol-type issue

Stephen J. Turnbull stephen at xemacs.org
Thu Aug 6 08:00:54 CEST 2009

Mark Hammond writes:
 > On 6/08/2009 12:28 AM, Stephen J. Turnbull wrote:

 > > I think the implication is obvious.  There will be no good solution
 > > until Windows users develop it.  I don't see a good reason to wait for
 > > that.

 > My conclusion is different.  I'm not sure of the history of win32text, 
 > but it most certainly is now squarely in the hands of Windows users. 
 > Patches to win32text, or even general discussion is usually met with 
 > silence, and when prodded, the response is "sorry - we don't use that - 
 > it is a Windows problem."

Well, yes, it is a Windows problem.  And it will probably always be
that way, because for practical purposes, Windows users cannot
advocate their platform's infrastructure solutions for open source
projects: those solutions are proprietary.  On the flip side, in my
experience at least Windows users do not contribute much to this kind
of infrastructure initiative, undoubtedly due to the high cost of
acquiring familiarity with the usable options[1], and so have less
input into the process.

But that's a matter of certain costs that are built in to the nature
of a proprietary platform.  Somebody has to pay them, and I think it
should be the users of that platform.  Why should the rest of the
community subsidize that platform?

 > As a result, we end up in the position we are in now - win32text is 
 > great in theory but doesn't work in practice, attempts to make it work 
 > are met with indifference, and the "problem" stays squarely with Windows 
 > users.

This is simply false AFAICS.  There was little participation on this
particular issue during PEP 374 that I can recall.  Now that it is
clearly an issue after all, it's still early in the PEP 385 process.
Martin has already picked up the ball on EOL support, and has carried
informal design pretty much to the goal line already ... all that's
left is the detailed design and the implementation, and there are
several people involved who will help develop the patch, all very
capable.  (Of course it's going to be easier said than done and there
are probably bumps in the road to a smooth workflow, but I do claim
that the process is working as well as you could expect.)

 > Hence my conclusion that the answer is for any such support to be 
 > developed in conjunction with Windows users, [...]

Ahem.  Why not "(primarily) by Windows users"?

 > And on the flip-side, I accept we may migrate without the agreed
 > solution fully implemented - I'm happy to accept commitments about
 > what *will* be done even if it isn't a reality for a short while...

Make no mistake about it, EOL support is a tempest in a teapot
compared to the benefits to a large number of core developers in their
*personal* workspaces -- even if the project workflow doesn't change
at all.  That's what is driving this change.

Unless Windows users do it themselves, they are dependent on the good
will of the PEP 385 proponent and other volunteer contributors.  I
don't think "accepting commitments" is part of the game plan.

[1]  Eg, I was willing to participate in PEP 374 because I already
have a great interest in version control and use git daily.  Lots of
Unix users don't, and they didn't participate any more than most
Windows users did.

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