[Python-Dev] The end of 2.7

Stephen Hansen me+python at ixokai.io
Mon Apr 8 17:42:06 CEST 2013

On Sun, Apr 7, 2013 at 6:53 AM, Christian Tismer <tismer at stackless.com>wrote:

>  On 07.04.13 14:10, Skip Montanaro wrote:
> Where I work (a trading firm that uses Python as just one of many
> different pieces of technology, not a company where Python is the core
> technology upon which the firm is based) we are only just now
> migrating from 2.4 to 2.7. I can't imagine we'll have migrated to
> Python 3 in two years.  It's not like we haven't seen this coming, but
> you can only justify moving so fast with technology that already
> works, especially if, like Python, you use it with lots of other
> packages (most/all of which themselves have to be ported to Python 3)
> and in-house software.
> I think the discussion should focus on who's left on 2.x and why, not,
> "yeah, releases every six months for the next couple years ought to do
> it."
> when I read this, I was slightly shocked. You know what?
> """
> We are pleased to announce the release of *Python 2.4, final* on November
> 30, 2004.
> """
> I know that companies try to save (time? money?) something by not upgrading
> software, and this is extremely annoying.

I'm in the same boat as Skip (just now moving from 2.4 to 2.7), and Python
*is* a core technology for us. It has nothing really to do with saving time
or money, its about priorities. The transition from 2.3 to 2.4 was actually
fairly painful (don't ask me why, I don't even remember anymore), but we
got stuck on 2.4 not by any specific decision -- it simply worked, and our
time was always focused upon solving problems and improving our software

Could we have solved our problems easier if we upgraded Python and had new
tools? Some, yes. (Some features we have added had me actually walking
through third party code bases and backporting it -- converting with to
try/finally is an amusing big one for example)

For one thing, even with this relatively ancient Python, we almost never
ran into bugs. It just worked and worked fine, so when we looked at our
development plan the list of feature requests and issues for various
customers (especially those that were potential new clients) overrode
"infrastructure" upgrades as priorities.

However, in a huge system that has many tens of thousands of lines of code,
doing a platform upgrade is just a serious endeavor -- and its often not
even Python's fault itself, but the reality that it means we're going to be
upgrading *everything* and involves a much more involved QA cycle and often
runs into third party software. We are finally upgrading now because the
time to work around certain bugs in both Python and third-party libraries
that no longer support 2.4 are enough for us to say, okay, we finally
really do need to get this done.

Migration to Python 3 ... IF it ever happens is more of a question then

That's not a indictment of Python 3 or a problem with the current plan (for
what its worth, the bugfix every 6 months until 5 years is up seems totally

Any new product we do, I'd seriously consider starting from Python 3.
(Though PyPy supporting Py3 would help that argument a lot) The case for
migrating existing products is a lot harder to make.

But I think every employee (including you) can quite easily put some
> pressure
> on his company by claiming that Python 2.x is a dead end, and everybody is
> about to move on to 3.x.
> This does not have to be true, I just recognize that by claiming it and
> doing it
> with your projects, the movement becomes a reality. Just say that we all
> need to
> move on and cannot care about companies that ignore this necessity.

The thing is, 2.7 works. Some third-party libraries we rely upon have no
clear sign for when they will be ported (such as wxPython), and though we
are transitioning away from certain others (omniORB for Apache Thrift for
example), that process itself is planned to be a gradual thing for the next
year, at least.

My concern is for the health of my company, and happiness of my customers;
I love Python and am an advocate for it, but in my day job, pushing things
forward is just about at the bottom of my list of concerns. (Though, our
migration to 2.7 is actually part of a long term strategic plan to embrace

And now I go back to lurking.

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