[Python-ideas] Proposal to change Python version release cycle

Nick Coghlan ncoghlan at gmail.com
Sat Nov 4 11:01:50 EDT 2017

On 5 November 2017 at 00:40, Wolfgang <tds333 at mailbox.org> wrote:
> On 04.11.2017 14:29, Antoine Pitrou wrote:
>> Hello Wolfgang,
>> On Sat, 4 Nov 2017 12:25:57 +0100 (CET)
>> tds333 at mailbox.org wrote:
>>> Hello,
>>> one of my long standing ideas to improve Python is to adjust the
>>> release cycle and version number handling. In short, to simplify it.
>> There has been ample discussion in the past about changing our release
>> cycle one way or another. In short, the meta-problem is there are many
>> contradicting interests which would each favour a different solution to
>> the problem.  See for example this PEP (ultimately rejected):
>> https://www.python.org/dev/peps/pep-0407/
>> and the discussion that ensued:
>> https://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2012-January/thread.html#115591
>> I haven't read your proposal in detail, but I suspect that it may be
>> vulnerable to some of the same objections.  The big objection being
>> that a significant part of our ecosystem (that is, to put it roughly,
>> the more corporate-minded segment, though I believe it is a
>> simplification and may include other segments, such as Debian stable
>> users and maintainers) doesn't want to deal more frequent feature
>> releases.
> I read this PEP and some of the discussion.
> The difference to my idea is not to propose a LTS version and feature
> preview releases.
> The simplest form of my change is to switch from today major.minor to simply
> major for the feature release cycle.

We're currently more likely to go the other direction, and stick with
the 3.x numbering for an extended period (potentially reaching 3.10,
3.11, 3.12, etc), so that the ongoing disruption caused by the 2.x ->
3.x transition has had a chance to settle down before we ask anyone to
start calling anything "Python 4".

While the problems Linux distros are facing with whether "python"
should refer to "python2" or "python3" are at least arguably
self-inflicted (especially for those that already dealt with the
Python 1.5.2 -> Python 2.0 migration back in the early 2000s), nobody
is really looking forward to having to figure out how to adjust to a
potential future Python 4.0 that invalidates all the current "python3"
based naming schemes that have been introduced to work around the fact
that Python 3.x needed to be parallel installable with Python 2.x
without breaking any existing Python 2.x applications. We're not even
sure yet when we're going to update PEP 394 to say that we think it's
reasonable for distros to start using "python" to mean "python3" (see
https://www.python.org/dev/peps/pep-0394/ and
https://github.com/python/redistributor-guide/issues/1 for more
discussion on the latter point).


Nick Coghlan   |   ncoghlan at gmail.com   |   Brisbane, Australia

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