[Python-Dev] Patch making the current email package (mostly) support bytes

Stephen J. Turnbull stephen at xemacs.org
Fri Oct 8 07:33:22 CEST 2010

lutz at rmi.net writes:

 > To put that more strongly, the Python user base is much larger than 
 > this list's readership.

Agreed.  Nevertheless, this is the channel (not "channel") that the
developers listen on, and substantial effort is made to let Python
users know that.  I think they do know it, too.

 > If I'm using 3.1 email, so are many others.

That's not obvious.  3.1 email is unusable for several applications.
In fact, for human factors reasons (humans are very likely to
communicate with other humans who use the same encodings, and to
accept occasional glitches they must deal with manually), MUAs are
likely to port relatively easily as "good enough" software.  But I
doubt very much that folks writing MTAs or spam filters that must run
unattended, often in long-lived, very active processes, are producing
production versions using Python 3 email yet.

 > People will accept the 3.X world you make up to a point, but it's 
 > impossible to code to a moving target, much less base a product on 
 > it.

"Impossible is nothing."  It's a decision that each individual
developer makes for herself.  I haven't heard Mailman devs complain
about the impossibility of dealing with the proposed changes, for
example.  Quite the reverse, in fact.

 > At some point, they'll simply stop trying to keep up; in fact, 
 > some already have.

Predictable and predicted.  Where's the balance?  I don't know, but
"channeling" the users is not a lot of help.  There are three worthy
goals here:

1. Taking advantage of improvements in to-be-released Pythons.
2. Not changing one's own working code.
3. Not participating in python-dev/email-sig.

Take any two; one can't have all three.

More specifically, it's interesting that most of the users you talk to
care enough to actually say they don't want more incompatible changes.
But what are we supposed to take from that?  Some fixes have to be
incompatible; do the users want the fix or the compatibility?  You
waffle (as a good representative often must):

 > Fixes are a Good Thing, of course, and this particular change's scope
 > remains to be seen; but to channel most of the users I meet out there
 > in the real world today: Enough with the 3.X changes already, eh?

But that's also a decision each developer *can* make for himself.
Python does not withdraw products, or even withdraw support, just
because the core developers release something they consider better.

If having 1 *and* 2 is so important to particular users, but they come
into conflict because of proposed changes in Python, then they're
going to have to give up 3, come here, and articulate their needs.  As
you are doing -- but to have real influence, you're going to have to
do the review of David's patch that he requests.

I really don't see how the process can work any other way.

More information about the Python-Dev mailing list