lacking follow-through

Paul Boddie paul at
Mon Sep 8 01:47:49 CEST 2008

On 7 Sep, 23:00, castironpi <castiro... at> wrote:
> I am concerned by the lack of follow-through on some responses to
> recent ideas I have described.  Do I merely have a wrong understanding
> of group policy?

I think some people have taken exception to your contributions
previously, which I believe exhibits a certain degree of
shortsightedness on their part, considering for example the recent
thread which brought up just-in-time compilation techniques where
there were pretty valid reasons for keeping the thread going.
Certainly, it wasn't as if the level of discussion was stuck at basic
contradiction or mudslinging, and even if reading the different papers
on the topic might help an inquirer on the matter, there's certainly
nothing wrong with seeking guidance over which papers might be the
best ones, nor with seeking some kind of context for that work within
the realm of Python implementations, especially given the recent glut
of news on virtual machine improvements for other dynamic languages.

>                   Is it a good policy (defined with respect to the
> future of Python and the welfare of humans at large) if so?  Is there
> a serious lack of diligence, or should I merely take more initiative,
> and ignore charges of 'pestering'?  (Warning, moderately deep outside
> social issues on table too.)

I'm no expert on getting other people to embrace ideas, but here's my
advice anyway. If you have an idea and can describe it coherently,
please do so; this won't guarantee positive responses, but there may
be people out there who feel that you're onto something. If the idea
has merit - generally, the most reliable way to know involves you
personally experiencing difficulties in a problem area where the idea
in question promises to alleviate some of those difficulties - then by
developing that idea, typically producing something that others can
try out, people will know that you mean business. Alternatively,
people might point you to existing work that will address the problems
you're having, saving you the bother of having to write a load of code
to enact that idea of yours.

You can be lucky and have people chasing you down over what you've
produced, but I'd argue that most of the time, for any given idea
which becomes a project, you'll have a few people interested in what
you've done, but the motivation for continuing will be something that
will depend on yourself and your own needs. You have to accept that
even if you think that people (and Python) might be well served in
listening to what you have to say, that message may go unheard.

Once upon a time, the BDFL and the most central core developers used
to read comp.lang.python and ideas about Python's future were
exchanged readily. Today, all lobbying takes place on the python-dev/
3000/ideas mailing lists, but those lists are more conservative with
regard to contributions than comp.lang.python (python-list). Perhaps
as a consequence, the divide between those steering the language and
those using it has grown: "producers" use the aforementioned lists,
"consumers" argue with each other on the newsgroup, and it might be in
the release notes that you learn about happenings that previously
would have been reported more widely elsewhere. Certainly, influencing
the future of Python, at least officially, is a lot more hard work
than it used to be.

One may decide to worry about this, along with matters like how Python
will remain able to compete with other languages and platforms. I
regard the future development of Python as a process which may not
necessarily serve my interests, but since the community around Python
is so much larger and more diverse than those following every last
Python 3.0 commit, I see no need to become agitated by the direction
of the language developers. Since Python is Free Software one has,
after all, a lot of flexibility when deciding who to associate with
and who to influence, and it is ultimately only through trying to
achieve things with the technology that one's priorities (or the
things one should be worrying about) emerge. For me, then, influencing
Python 3.x isn't a priority since I have enough to be thinking about
and working on, and I wonder if I'll ever do anything with Python 3.x

So, I suppose, the message is this: follow your own interests, make
contributions in the ways that make sense to you, seek contact with
like-minded developers in groups which might be remote from mainstream
Python development (find an appropriate, potentially specialised
audience); these things will define any need you may have to influence


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