[Python-Dev] The end of 2.7

martin at v.loewis.de martin at v.loewis.de
Sun Apr 7 07:11:26 CEST 2013

Quoting Benjamin Peterson <benjamin at python.org>:

> This means we need to talk about how many more 2.7 releases there are
> going to be. At the release of 2.7.0, I thought we promised 5 years of
> bugfix maintenance, but my memory may be fuddled.

I'd like to promote the idea to abandon 2.7 bug fix releases earlier
than that, e.g. along with the release of 3.4. My recollection is
that "we" didn't actually promise any specific time frame; I recall
that Guido said that Python 2.7 would be supported "indefinitely",
which is not "infinitely" [1]. The Whats New says [2]

"""It’s very likely the 2.7 release will have a longer period of
maintenance compared to earlier 2.x versions."""

which explicitly refuses to set a date. Of course, individual committers
may have promised a more specific policy publicly in the past.

Since Christian asked: I'll likely continue to make binary releases
for Windows as along as Benjamin declares releases to be bug fix
releases. However, it will become increasingly difficult for users
to actually use these releases to build extension modules since
Microsoft decided to take VS 2008 Express offline (VS 2008 remains
available to MSDN subscribers; getting it from a store might
also be difficult in 2014).

I wonder whether the burden of maintaining three branches for bug
fixes (2.7, 3.3, default) and three more for security fixes
(2.6, 3.1, 3.2) is really sustainable for committers. I wouldn't
want to back off wrt. security fixes, and 2.6 will soon fall out
of the promised 5 years (after the initial release). However,
stopping to accept bug fixes for 2.7 would IMO significantly reduce
the load for committers - it would certainly continue to get
security fixes, and (for the time being) "indefinitely" so.

Wrt. to the 3.x migration rate: I think this is a self-fulfilling
prophecy. Migration rate will certainly increase once we announce
an end of 2.7, and then again when the end is actually reached.

I'm doubtful with respect to a community-managed ongoing 2.7 bug
fix release (i.e. I doubt that it will happen); the same was
discussed for a next 2.x feature release, and it hasn't happened.
OTOH, it is very likely that people will publish their own patches
to 2.7 throughout the net, just as the Linux distributions already
do. It may even happen that some volunteer offers to publish a
combined repository for such patches, with various members of the
community having write access to such a repository (but no formal
releases coming out of that).


[1] http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2009-November/093651.html
[2] http://docs.python.org/dev/whatsnew/2.7.html#the-future-for-python-2-x

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