Python Packages : A looming problem? packages might no longer work? (well not on your platform or python version anyway)

Patrick Mullen saluk64007 at
Thu Apr 23 08:20:05 CEST 2009

On Wed, Apr 22, 2009 at 9:33 PM, David Lyon <david.lyon at> wrote:
> Hi Steve,
>>> Why should the package developer dictacte which python version the
>>> package will run on ?
>> Because they're the developer. Who else should decide what Python
>> versions to support?
> The developer shouldn't be making such decisions at all....
> What hardware or operating systems we run his/her programs on is
> up to the real world to decide.
> If you think about it logically... why are we even asking our
> developers to even "build" their packages for specific python
> versions in the first place?
> They should just:

Programmers need to know what they are programming for. Each version
of the language changes things, and the old interpreters often cannot
understand things introduced in later versions. There is no way to
magically get code written for one version to work for a different
version. Code written on any python less than 3 will work on any
higher python version up to (but not including) 3, and the same is
true for the 3 series, but going back down needs somebody to do the
conversion, unless the programmer was meticulous in making it work on
all versions.

This problem of course, isn't just looming, it's been around for a
while. Every time a new python version is introduced, there is chaos
as some library writers move over, and some stay with the old, and
others bend over backwards to support everybody. Unfortunately, it
can't be helped, and the best people to handle the situation are the
library authors themselves. The only way to prevent this would be to
not release any new versions ever. In the case of python 3, there are
probably some who would prefer to have no new versions ever, but no
progress can be made without asking the question to move along with
the moving target or stay comfortable.

Now, a system to give developers access to more test configurations
would help make it easier to support more systems. This is the
approach of snakebite. But some giant network that automatically tests
all of pypi on all configurations is infeasible, somehow automatically
forcing libraries to work is not even possible.

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