[Python-Dev] microsoft dlls apparently don't support data. implications: PyAPI functions required to access data across modules.

Nick Coghlan ncoghlan at gmail.com
Mon Jan 26 13:31:56 CET 2009

Scott Dial wrote:
> I think
> it's been made clear that nobody is opposed to having an all-free build
> of Python for Win32, however it is not the focus of anyone's interest
> here because it's "free enough" for our purposes. I believe Martin wrote
> you a reply that explained that quite well.

One thing to keep in mind is the fact that CPython uses a BSD-style
licensing model and hence will tend to attract developers that have no
problem with the idea of someone making a proprietary fork of our code.
One consequence of this self-selection process is that the Python core
developers aren't likely to see anything inherently wrong with the idea
of closed source proprietary software (it may be an inefficient and
wasteful method of development when it comes to commodity software, but
it isn't actually morally *wrong* in any way).

Visual Studio is the best available tool for native Windows C/C++
development and these days it even comes with the free-as-in-beer
Express edition. The fact that VS is itself a non-free closed source
application may bother developers out there with a stronger
philosophical preference for free software, but it doesn't really bother
me or, I believe, most of the core committers in the slightest.

I have no problem with anyone that dislikes non-free software and
chooses to opt out of the Windows world altogether (I myself use my
Windows machine almost solely to play games, as I prefer Linux for
development and general computing tasks). But if a developer decides
(for whatever reason) to opt into that world and support the platform,
it doesn't make any sense to me to complain that the recommended tools
for developing in a non-free environment are themselves non-free (at
least in the software libre sense). Going "Oh, I may be targeting a
non-free platform, but at least I used free software tools to do it"
strikes me as sheer sophistry and a fairly pointless waste of time.

If a developer can't even find someone to either build Windows binaries
for them or else to donate the cash for a single Windows license to run
Visual Studio Express in a virtual machine, then it seems to me that any
supposed demand for Windows support must be pretty damn tenuous.


Nick Coghlan   |   ncoghlan at gmail.com   |   Brisbane, Australia

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