cost of change

Galen Swint hcsgss at
Tue Jul 24 22:11:49 CEST 2001

Has anyone tried to figure out how much changes to Python cost? The way I
figure it, it goes something like this:
500,000 Python programmers
3 hrs to port *all* needed code
Thats $30 *million*, and all those numbers are surely low -- especially the
time to port.  I can't imagine if you're using third party packages and have to
wrangle with all their code yourself.
I've been programming with Python only two months, and I've already gone
through part of the 1.5 to 2.1 upgrade, and it cost several hundred dollars in
salary simply because pickling doesn't port up versions.  (I know that's
documented, but it's still crazy not to have a pickly that works across
There are other hidden costs to breaking a language with every upgrade. Two
come to mind - first, people like me, who thought they liked it, now don't want
to do anything long term in it, and second, no one can afford to spend time on
optimizations because the structure and code they are trying to optimize keeps
shape shifting.
If you're going to change it, fine. *BUT*, do the world a favor and be sure
that *any* change which breaks existing code carries a new major version number
(PEP0238 clearly warrants a Python 3.0 designation) .

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