[Python-Dev] PEP 407: New release cycle and introducing long-term support versions

Antoine Pitrou solipsis at pitrou.net
Thu Jan 19 12:07:59 CET 2012

On Thu, 19 Jan 2012 11:12:06 +1100
Steven D'Aprano <steve at pearwood.info> wrote:
> Antoine Pitrou wrote:
> > Le jeudi 19 janvier 2012 à 00:25 +0900, Stephen J. Turnbull a écrit :
> >>  > You claim people won't use stable releases because of not enough
> >>  > alphas?  That sounds completely unrelated.
> >>
> >> Surely testing is related to user perceptions of stability.  More
> >> testing helps reduce bugs in released software, which improves user
> >> perception of stability, encouraging them to use the software in
> >> production.
> > 
> > I have asked a practical question, a theoretical answer isn't exactly
> > what I was waiting for.
> [...]
> > I don't care to convince *you*, since you are not involved in Python
> > development and release management (you haven't ever been a contributor
> > AFAIK). Unless you produce practical arguments, saying "I don't think
> > you can do it" is plain FUD and certainly not worth answering to.
> Pardon me, but people like Stephen Turnbull are *users* of Python, exactly the 
> sort of people you DO have to convince that moving to an accelerated or more 
> complex release process will result in a better product. The risk is that you 
> will lose users, or fragment the user base even more than it is now with 2.x 
> vs 3.x.

Well, you might bring some examples here, but I haven't seen any project
lose users *because* they switched to a faster release cycle (*). I
don't understand why this proposal would fragment the user base, either.
We're not proposing to drop compatibility or build Python 4.

((*) Firefox's decrease in popularity seems to be due to Chrome uptake,
and their new release cycle is arguably in response to that)

> Quite frankly, I like the simplicity and speed of the current release cycle. 
> All this talk about separate LTS releases and parallel language releases and 
> library releases makes my head spin.

Well, the PEP discussion might make your head spin, because various
possibilities are explored. Obviously the final solution will have to
be simple enough to be understood by anyone :-)

(do you find Ubuntu's release model, for example, too complicated?)

> I fear the day that people asking 
> questions on the tutor or python-list mailing lists will have to say (e.g.) 
> "I'm using Python 3.4.1 and standard library 1.2.7" in order to specify the 
> version they're using.

Yeah, that's my biggest problem with Nick's proposal. Hopefully we can
avoid parallel version schemes.

> You're hoping that a 
> more rapid release cycle will attract more developers, and there is a chance 
> that you could be right; but a more rapid release cycle WILL increase the 
> total work load. So you're betting that this change will attract enough new 
> developers that the work load per person will decrease even as the total work 
> load increases.

This is not something that we can find out without trying, I think.
As Georg pointed out, the decision is easy to revert or amend if
we find out that the new release cycle is unworkable.



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