[Python-Dev] 2.7 is here until 2020, please don't call it a waste.

Ian Cordasco graffatcolmingov at gmail.com
Fri May 29 23:52:08 CEST 2015

On Fri, May 29, 2015 at 4:14 PM, Gregory P. Smith <greg at krypto.org> wrote:
> On Fri, May 29, 2015 at 12:24 AM Nick Coghlan <ncoghlan at gmail.com> wrote:
>> On 29 May 2015 11:01 am, "Victor Stinner" <victor.stinner at gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>> >
>> > Why not continue to enhance Python 3 instead of wasting our time with
>> > Python 2? We have limited resources in term of developers to maintain
>> > Python.
>> >
>> > (I'm not talking about fixing *bugs* in Python 2 which is fine with me.)
>> I'm actually OK with volunteers deciding that even fixing bugs in 2.7
>> isn't inherently rewarding enough for them to be willing to do it for free
>> on their own time.
> That is 100% okay.
> What is not okay is for python-dev representatives to respond to users (in
> any list/forum/channel) reporting bugs in 2.7 or asking if a fix in 3 can be
> backported to 2.7 with things akin to "just use Python 3" or "sorry, 2.7 is
> critical fixes only. move to python 3 already." This is actively driving our
> largest users away.  I bring this up because a user was bemoaning how
> useless they feel python core devs are because of this attitude recently.
> Leading to feelings of wishing to just abandon CPython if not Python all
> together.
> I'm sure I have even made some of those responses myself (sorry!). My point
> here is: know it. recognize it. don't do it anymore. It harms the community.
> A correct and accurate response to desires to make non-api-breaking changes
> in 2.7 is "Patches that do not change any APIs for 2.7 are welcome in the
> issue tracker." possibly including "I don't have the bandwidth to review 2.7
> changes, find someone on python-dev to review and champion this for you if
> you need it."  Finding someone may not always be easy. But at least is still
> the "patches welcome" attitude and suggests that the work can be done if
> someone is willing to do it. Lets make a concerted effort to not be hostile
> and against it by default.
> Ex: Is someone with a python application that is a million of lines supposed
> to have everyone involved in that drop the productive work they are doing
> and spend that porting their existing application to python 3 because we
> have so far failed to provide the tools to make that migration easy?  No.
> Empathize with our community.  Feel their pain.  (and everyone who is
> working on tools to aid the transition: keep doing that! Our users are gonna
> need it unless we don't want them as users anymore.)
> We committed to supporting 2.7 until 2020 in 2014 per
> https://hg.python.org/peps/rev/76d43e52d978.  That means backports of
> important bug or performance fixes should at least be allowed on the table,
> even if hairy, even if you won't work on them yourselves on a volunteer
> basis. This is the first long term support release of Python ever. This is
> what LTS means.  LTS could also stand for Learn To Support...

At the same time, they can ask for it, but if people aren't motivated
to do the work for it, it won't happen. We should be encouraging (and
maybe even mentoring) these people who are desperately in need of the
fixes to be backported, to backport the patches themselves. With that
done, it can go through review and we can maybe get those fixes in
faster if we can also get a larger group of reviews.

The problem consists of a few parts:

- We're all volunteers
- Volunteers are going to work on what interests them
- Python 2.7 maintenance doesn't seem to interest many of our
volunteers currently

Perhaps we should explain this to each of the people requesting
backports to (ideally) encourage them.

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