Python evolution: Unease

Paul Rubin http
Wed Jan 5 13:26:38 EST 2005

Skip Montanaro <skip at> writes:
> Okay, then start doing the work necessary to incorporate that stuff into the
> core.  Get Fredrik to say "okay" to including his Tkinter docs, then do what
> it takes to incorporate it.  The fact that Fredrik can check those docs in
> himself but hasn't after several years suggests that he prefers the status
> quo for one or more reasons.

I thought that we had been through this already, and permission from
Frederik was not forthcoming.  Either he has his own plans for those
docs, or he has some obligation to someone else to not release them.

The Tkinter reference at

is actually the best doc I've seen on tkinter so far, but it's only
available in ps/pdf format and again, would need permission for
inclusion in Python.

> There is a reference manual section for SocketServer, btw:
> If that needs examples or corrections or is incomplete, feel free to submit
> a patch to either SourceForge or by email to docs at

It's been a while since I really had to wrestle with SocketServer, but
that its docs were quite inadequate and I had to study the source code
for quite a while to grok how to use it.

> Look, I don't have much free time, and what free time I do have I mostly
> spend moonlighting on other software (much to my wife's chagrin).  I imagine
> most of the other people who contribute to the Python distribution are
> similarly time-afflicted.  Here are a couple ideas:

Thanks, but I'm not in the business of promoting Python.  I like to
think I contribute in some minor ways by submitting bug reports and
occasional small patches.  I made a conscious decision to not spend
time on big patches since Python is non-GPL, and I'd rather spend my
limited volunteer time on GPL projects, working on non-GPL projects
only if I'm getting paid for it.  I offered to make an exception once
to contribute some functionality that I felt was important for Python
users, but it was declined.

What I see going on in clpy all the time though, is people asking
whether Python is good for some type of project, and always getting
told "yes" no matter what the project is.  If the "yes" means that in
addition to doing your own project, you find out in the middle that
you also have to add features to Python that other languages already
support, that makes your project finish behind schedule and whoever
told you Python was good for your project really did you a disservice.
I'm reacting to that phenomenon in this thread, along with possible

>     1.  Do you have more money than time?  Donate a few bucks to the PSF:

Nah, I'd rather donate to the FSF if I have the bucks to spare.  If I
want to fund the development of proprietary Microsoft products, I'm
better off sending the money directly to Bill G.  Of course I'm happy
if PSF gets corporate donations, but that's different than someone
like me operating as a free software activist.  

>     2.  Do you have more time than money?  Write a proposal to the PSF to
>         implement/improve/polish off some aspect of the distribution:

Huh?  Do you mean like a funding proposal, where PSF would use some of
those donations to hire me to develop something?  I guess I'd consider
that in principle, but I'm probably not PSF's favorite person right
now, and unlikely to get hired.  And anyway, I have other commitments
right now and couldn't take on anything like that.

> Where did I say to go write a browser or a native-code Python compiler?  If
> that's your bag you can try resurrecting something Grail-like (browser) or
> contribute time top PyPy or Psyco.  When I said "write", I literally meant
> write, as in English text.

I don't experience much difference between writing text and writing
code.  If I say the docs are missing something and you tell me to fix
them, that's not much different than telling me to go write missing code.

Re browsers and compilers: I think a Python browser depends on a good
GUI toolkit and right now Python only has Tkinter.  (There are
toolkits like wxpython but Python doesn't "have" them; they exist

I think the PyPy group is doing real well with compilers, or at least
knows what its doing.  I want to wait til PyPy is actually deployed
before I pay too much attention to Python compilation, since I think
supporting good compilation should actually drive the Python 3000
language design, and PyPy will make it much easier to experiment with
new or changing language features.

>     Paul> Having to piece together info from a dozen obscure and
>     Paul> inconsistent PEP's and stuff in the CVS tree and source comments
>     Paul> is not what most people think of as "documentation".
> I was suggesting that maybe you might like to take the pieces and
> make them something coherent.  If it was trivial it would have
> probably been done by now.

I just avoid using those features.  If they're not documented they
probably don't work that well either.

> I rather like reST (much of is being reimplemented in reST),

I don't know what that is.

> Look here:
> As Andrew indicated, it's a "half-hour hack", but it might give someone
> something to think about.

That's pretty cute and should link to it.

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