[Python-Dev] PEP 407 / splitting the stdlib

Terry Reedy tjreedy at udel.edu
Thu Jan 19 02:54:45 CET 2012

On 1/18/2012 8:06 PM, Nick Coghlan wrote:
> On Thu, Jan 19, 2012 at 10:19 AM, Steven D'Aprano<steve at pearwood.info>  wrote:
>> Do we have any evidence of this alleged bitrot? I spend a lot of time on the
>> comp.lang.python newsgroup and I see no evidence that people using Python
>> believe the standard library is rotting from lack of attention.
> IMO, it's a problem mainly with network (especially web) protocols and
> file formats. It can take the stdlib a long time to catch up with
> external developments due to the long release cycle, so people are
> often forced to switch to third party libraries that better track the
> latest versions of relevant standards (de facto or otherwise).

Some of those modules are more that 2 years out of date and I guess what 
Brett is saying is that the people interested and able to update them 
will not do so in the stdlib because they want to be able to push out 
feature updates whenever they are needed and available and not be tied 
to a slow release schedule. Morever, since the external standards will 
continue to evolve for the foreseeable future, the need to track them 
more quickly will also continue.

We could relax the ban on new features in micro releases and designate 
such modules as volatile and let them get new features in each x.y.z 
release. In a sense, this would be less drastic than inventing a new 
type of release. Code can require an x.y.z release, as it must if it 
depends on a bug fix not in x.y.0.

I also like the idea of stretching out the alpha release cycle. I would 
like to see 3.3.0a1 appear along with 3.2.3 (in February?). If alpha 
releases are released with all buildbots green, they are as good, at 
least with respect to old features, as a corresponding bugfix release. 
All releases will become more dependable as test coverage improves. 
Again, this idea avoids inventing a new type of release with new release 

I think one reason people avoid alpha releases is that they so quickly 
become obsolete. If one sat for 3 to 6 months, it might get more 
attention. As for any alpha stigma, we should emphasize that alpha only 
mean not feature frozen.

Terry Jan Reedy

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