What's so funny? WAS Re: rotor replacement

Skip Montanaro skip at pobox.com
Thu Jan 27 07:44:56 EST 2005

    >> Finally, what if, saints be preserved, your whizbang new module is

    phr> It is not a whizbang module.  It is a stripped-down, basic
    phr> implementation of a well-accepted set of standards that are being
    phr> used in thousands of other applications in other languages.

Then there should be a library already out there already.  All you should
need to do is wrap it (manually, with SWIG, whatever).

    >> included in the core distribution and it's just not as popular as was
    >> first thought?

    phr> There is demand for it.  Look at how this thread started: some
    phr> crypto user noticed that rotor was gone and wanted to know what to
    phr> do instead.

Yes, and putting rotor back would be the wrong thing to do.

    phr> The issue of whether there's enough desire for a crypto module to
    phr> warrant including one in the stdlib was decided a long time ago.
    phr> The proof of that somebody decided to accept the rotor module into
    phr> the distro.

No, rotor was added in Python's early days (July 1992).  Times have changed.

As long as we are discussing cryptography, what's wrong with m2crypto?


Why not incorporate it into the standard distribution?

Or, what about Andrew Kuchling's crypto toolkit?


I believe both have been around awhile.  If crypto-in-the-core is really
what's needed why not see if one of them is ready to go?  

    phr> The rotor module is gone (and good riddance).  That's how this
    phr> thread started, remember?  It shows that bogus modules can be
    phr> removed.

Yeah, but it was there for over 10 years.

    phr> Have you ever used a crypto library in a serious way?  

Nope, never directly.  Don't make this about me.  I'm interested in the
Python development process and how you'd like to turn it on its head.

    >> When it's the category king and there is substantial community
    >> support for inclusion,

    phr> It's already the category king, because there are precisely zero
    phr> other entrants in the category.  

See my above references.  Note, I don't use crypto at all, yet I was aware
of both of these (no Googling required).  My guess would be they are
substantially more mature than your proposed module.

    phr> I read those as saying that no crypto module will be considered for
    phr> inclusion whether or not it's the category king, because any such
    phr> module might conflict with crypto regulations in some countries.

That may be a problem, sure.  I'm not sure how the discussion here changes
that.  That's just life as we know it.

    phr> So tell me again what to do after writing and releasing a C module.
    phr> There's just no reason to write one, if the module can't go into
    phr> the stdlib.  

Why in the heck is inclusion in the standard library a requirement for you
to write this thing?  If it's useful to you, write it and get on with your

    >> Python is popular in part because of its fairly conservative
    >> development strategy.  That goes for the libraries as well as the
    >> language itself.

    phr> Tell me again how rotor got into the distribution.

Okay.  It was 1992.  Bill Clinton had recently been elected president.  It
was pretty much pre-WWW as we know it.  Definitely pre-comp.lang.python and
pre-Google (heck, pre-Yahoo, pre-Win98 and pre-Mac OSX as well).  Pre-string
methods.  Pre-triple-quoted strings.  Pre-spammers.  Pre-DSL.  Pre-lots of
stuff.  There was an Emacs python-mode and <wink>s, both thanks to Tim.
People opined about Python's performance, just as they do today.  Python's
version number was around 0.9.4, definitel < 1.0.  Guido was the only person
with direct repository access.  Including something in the distribution was
probably the only convenient way to make new modules available.  If nothing
else, the rotor module (along with anything else included in the
distribution back then) may have been a good exercise in and demonstration
of writing extension modules, so it probably served a useful non-crypto
purpose.  Python's user community was probably a few hundred people.  Guido
likely had no thoughts of world domination with the little language that
could.  Times have changed.  You seem think there was a PEP process and
distutils and Wikis.  I suspect some of the algorithms one might include in
a robust crypto toolkit today weren't even invented in 1992.

So throw away the rotor crutch and put your money where your mouth is.


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