Language change and code breaks

Bjorn Pettersen BPettersen at
Mon Jul 16 10:09:19 EDT 2001

> From: Peter Hansen [mailto:peter at]
> Guido van Rossum wrote:
> > 
> > Peter Hansen <peter at> writes (after much good stuff about
> > transitioning):
> > 
> > > After the transition period, screw the professional programmers
> > > who won't take the time to modify their existing code and yet
> > > who selfishly insist that their wonderful program *must* be
> > > allowed to continue running under the new Python without
> > > problem.
> > 
> > Well, I don't know about you, but *I* am reluctant to say 
> "screw you"
> > to all those people who depend on Python script written by
> > professional programmers who no longer work there.
> "Screw you" might have been a little strong.  (And for those just
> joining, I _am_ one of those professional programmers about which
> I was making the suggestion...)
> Nevertheless, I want to make the clear point (if I haven't already)
> that I'm not suggesting screwing every such programmer... just 
> those who are actively using code which would be broken, who will 
> not take the time (however small we might make it) to modify the 
> source, and yet who "must" have their code work under the new Python.
> Are there really any people like that?  Enough to make it
> a key factor?  I'm not sure I can even think of any realistic
> cases where anyone like that exists (he said, trolling for
> someone to point out an obvious example or two).

Well, I for one wrote several thousands of lines of Python code in my
last job, and I obviously have no influence on when they're going to
upgrade to a newer version of Python. You can probably safely assume
that they're not going to put a programmer on fixing programs that are
running without any problems. More likely they would upgrade Python,
realize that "a bunch" of Python scripts stopped working, and either
roll back the Python upgrade, rewrite them in Perl/Java, or find someone
with enough Python skills to fix the problems. Neither solution would be
good PR for Python...

-- bjorn

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