Python executables

Geoff Howland ghowland at
Sat Jul 5 09:51:05 CEST 2003

On Thu, 03 Jul 2003 07:04:49 -0400, David Scott Williams
<xiarcel at> wrote:

>>I think everyone that uses Python wants it to gain acceptance for the
>>great language that it is.  I believe that stating an attitude in this
>>way is pretty counter productive in gaining any kind of wide-spread
>Unfortunately, though, I don't think you get any more tread coming to 
>the Open Source developers and asking them how to hide your bits... This 
>is your issue, reversed.  

Why should Open Source developers be unanimously opposed to this?  I
can see that some will be, but just because you Open some of your
programs doesnt mean you will Open all of them.

There are business models to Open Source software, but they're much
less developed and practiced than just selling the software.  IMO,
some things are better domains for open source than others, and other
people will have different views.

I think the important thing here is not to alienate people who have
different views than you just because you have different opinions.
Why should Python only be used by people who want to create open
source software?  Should everyone else be discouraged or prodded?

>I think if your goals are un-reasonable, asking a hammer salesman how 
>best to use his tool to screw something into drywall is again, similary, 
>counter-productive.  Scripting languages are hard to obfuscate, if not 
>damned near impossible.  Even Java byte-code can be decompiled back to 
>fairly decent looking source...

I didn't think Python was trying to be a hammer.  It's obviously not
trying to be Everything (which is good), but that doesnt mean it
should be saying "we dont do this, bugger off".

Especially for something that is really more religious.  There is a
practical side to this, which is "hiding things is not easy because
Python isnt built to hide things", and I think that is fine.  I think
it's more important for Python to be about making coding easy and
readable, but I still dont think it should be discouraged as a
community policy.

I know I was at first very put off by the open source community
because of how totalitarian the sentiment seemed to be that
"everything must be open/free".  I've finally started to get over that
and enjoy releasing bits here and there, but giving things away
doesn't pay bills.  I have a feeling that others are equally put off
by it, and it only slows down acceptance for everyone that "maybe some
things I write are good to release open source".

>>Some people will care enough, and will avoid Python because the
>>ability to protect their end results aren't there.
>This loss is unfortunate, perhaps someday they will see that software 
>really isn't a commodity, but a service.  

In that "even a radio is a service", it will definitely be true, but
radios are sold as well.  Some software is more a service than others.
Some software is more like a radio.  Some software is even less
service than a radio (like games), where they are sometimes a one-shot
experience.  You can't sell service on this, and there is sometimes
little replay value.  The worth is in the experience the first time.

Service varies, and so sales needs to be varying as well.

>Perhaps you could write an open source python code obfuscator?   Or 
>write it in C and make it closed source?  

I wasnt suggesting "someone else" do it really.  I was more addressing
the attitude that I thought could put people off.  At one point I
personally considered this important, and after reviewing it long
enough I decided I didn't care.  It wasn't worth the effort to hide
things, and the majority of people would pay for the software anyway
(that were going to), so no loss.  I just think those that want to do
it shouldn't be discouraged from touching Python or asking for help.  


-Geoff Howland

More information about the Python-list mailing list