[Python-Dev] Status of C compilers for Python on Windows

Tony Kelman kelman at berkeley.edu
Tue Oct 28 09:10:38 CET 2014

Stephen J. Turnbull:
> Python is open source.  Nobody is objecting to "somebody else" doing
> this.[1]  The problem here is simply that some "somebody elses" are
> trying to throw future work over the wall into python-dev space.

If that's how it's seen at this point, then it sounds like the logical
course of action for CPython-with-MinGW is to demonstrate feasibility
in a fork. Get what currently works as a set of 80-something patches
and PKGBUILD instructions into a single repository that is usable by a
wider variety of people, in more distributions, etc. Set up as much CI as
possible so every patch gets tested in as many configurations as we can.
Experiment with extension compatibility and find out what is actually
achievable, with or without needing to modify MinGW-w64 in the process.

There are people, though evidently not much of python-dev, who have a
need and desire to make this happen. It seems python-dev would rather
have us spend zero time proposing changes that allow CPython itself to
be built differently than today, and all of our time on MinGW extensions.
I personally find 3 of the 4 combinations of how one could build CPython
and how one could build extensions interesting and worth looking into for
different reasons (the one that's uninteresting to me is the currently
used all-MSVC method, due to its many limitations I listed earlier).
Ray for example may only care about using MinGW for everything. Python's
a big community with lots of room for different people to work on
different aspects of the same set of problems.

For the combination of MSVC Python and MinGW extensions that most of you
have recommended we focus on, it would be more productive to engage with
setuptools, distutils-sig, and likely numpy as well, instead of python-dev.
My experience lies more in getting troublesome C codebases to build with
MinGW than it does with the messy intricacies and backwards-compatibility
requirements of Python extensions and package management however, so my
ability to contribute on that side of things is more limited. I'll just
note that every project I've ever had a patch for which improved
functionality with a new compiler (whether GCC, MSVC, clang, icc or ifort,
etc.) reacted with review and thanks for the patches, not "why do you want
to do this?" pushback. If potential contributors have a desire to get it
working in the first place, then they will also be invested in helping
keep it working on an ongoing basis.


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