platform-specific overrides of functions and class methods (expanding on imputils demo code)

lkcl luke.leighton at
Tue Sep 15 01:51:43 CEST 2009

On Sep 6, 5:49 pm, Terry Reedy <tjre... at> wrote:
> lkclwrote:
> > On Aug 21, 12:58 am, a... at (Aahz) wrote:
> >> In article <77715735-2668-43e7-95da-c91d175b3... at>,
> >>lkcl <luke.leigh... at> wrote:
> >>> if somebody would like to add this to the python bugtracker, as a
> >>> contribution, that would be great.  alternatively, you might like to
> >>> have a word with the python developers to get them to remove the
> >>> censorship on my contributions.
> >> Excuse me?  What censorship?
> >  i was ordered to cease contributing to python.
> As I remember from the public discussion, you were asked to cease using
> the bugtracker as a progress blog ...

 i used the bugtracker as a substitute for svn access, so that other
people who may be interested could follow, pick up and contribute.

 to describe valuable contributions as "a prrrogress blllllooggggg"
makes it sound like the work is at the same level as much of the
mindless drivel found on e.g. wordpress.

 if that's how it was being viewed, then it's no wonder there were

 at the time that i was ordered to cease contributing, the work done
passed all but 8-12 of the standard python regression tests.  out of
several thousand.

> > the cause was the
> > provision of a port of python to run under mingw32, which passed all
> > but eight of the regression tests.
> and wait until you had a complete patch to submit.

 1) i've stopped.  it's declared complete.  there.  it can now be
added.  does that help?

 2) you know as well as i do that there is never going to be a
"complete" patch.  no-one in the world is a "perfect" coder.  work is
_always_ ongoing.  there is _always_ going to be "a better patch".

 3) "wait until there is a complete patch" flies in the face of the
basic tenets of both commercial _and_ free software development.  you
_never_ "wait until the work is completed".  release early, release
often, remember?

> There is also a real
> question of whether such ports should be folded into the main CPython
> code base, as some have been, or maintained as separate projects, as
> other have been.

 the mingw32 port comprises two (necessary) features: 1) cross-
compiling support, which the mingw32 port uses to create python.exe
(from a posix system) 2) actual support for mingw32-compiled python,
including proper support on ILP32 systems, checking support for
features properly using autoconf tests not "#ifdef WIN32" etc. etc.

 cross-compiling of cpython is tricky as hell, starting from pgen and
going from there, to create python.exe.  to be able to run that - in
order to compile the modules and run the regression tests is _even
more_ tricky. but - it's been done.

roumen and the other contributors to the cross-compile support have
consistently had their contributions considered to be worthless,
basically, for nearly five years, now. _despite_ clear evidence
indicating a need, and clear requests for cross-compiling to be
included in the standard python distribution.

 for example, from the gentoo team, who have a bitch of a job cross-
compiling python for embedded-mips systems.

 then there's the issue of continuing to rely on the proprietary
microsoft compiler toolchain.  you _know_ that's going to cause
problems, ultimately, with an important free software project such as

so to throw mud in the face of people willing to think ahead and put
in the work to get you [PSF / python-devs] out of a potentially
difficult [political/strategic] situation is just ... i don't
understand it.  i even solved the issue of compiling python under
mingw32 using assemblies, so that it could be linked against MSVCRT80,
91 etc.

these kinds of multiple interdependent technical issues aren't the
sorts of things you "put into a single patch and then stop" - you keep
on at it, picking at one part of the pattern, moving to the next
issue, pick some more, solve that, and keep moving.

so - these are the kinds of things i received [not exact words]:
"please stop submitting continual patches, we think it's about the
same level of value as some of the trash we see on".
"please stop doing work because we think it's worthless".  "we don't
really like and don't really want to maintain the win32 port of python
anyway, so why are you bothering to work on it?"

do you notice a theme, here?  there isn't anything which is
particularly encouraging.  or places any value on the work being
done.  or indicates a willingness to extend free software.

this theme was so completely contrary to what i was expecting
[openness, trust and respect] that i just... went "does not compute"
and continued coding.  i don't mean that in a flippant way - i really
_mean_, my mind went "this message [from e.g. martin] doesn't match my
expectations of a free software project developer/contributor.  what's
the next technical challenge i have to solve?"  note the discontinuity
in the internal dialog between those two sentences.  there was no
_judging_ of the message received; no "pffh. that idiot.  let's spend
some time and energy _actively_ dismissing the person and the
message".  it was _literally_: "does not compute.  equals zero.  next
issue on list: do coding".  it's a pathological approach, i know - but
it's one that solves technical issues with extreme [some say alarming]

anyway.  it was an interesting experience.  and you can make use of
someone with such capabilities, and _not_ get stressed, and work out
how to make use of them -or you can throw their work in their face,
and move the goalposts around, close all their bugreports (making up
reasons where possible) - all to get them to "go away".  "stop
increasing my stress levels".

overall, from the experience, i did get the overall impression that
the core developers are slightly overwhelmed, and don't have time to
focus on anthing other than what's already on "the roadmap".  i.e.
"unscheduled" major free software contributions - such as ports to new
systems - are viewed as a burden rather than a responsibility that
should, without question and without hesitation, be incorporated and
encouraged, in order to increase the reach of python and in order to
build a stronger, larger python community.

one of the arguments utilised to discourage the work on the mingw32
port was that "it would have to be supported - by us.  officially."
such statements are self-fulfilling, and increase the "burden of
responsibility" and the stress.

a very sensible person told me that stress is where the mind has an
internal picture (expectations / viewpoint), makes a comparison with
the outside world, and the discrepancy is so large that the mind
CANNOT COPE.... and seeks to place BLAME on the EXTERNAL world.

if people are willing, there are _always_ ways in which contributions
can be accepted, such that free software can progress.  it's just that
in the [extremely rapid] development cycle of the mingw32 cross-
compiled port of python, i didn't meet the "expectations" of the
python developers.  there's nothing i can do about peoples' _internal_
expectations, and i'm really sorry, but i don't have the social-
interaction-capacity to _understand_ peoples' expectations [i don't
get enough practice].  so, i "make do" by assuming that free software
people are always going to be receptive, enthusiastic, open and
encouraging, and that, when they encounter an experience that
indicates that they might fall short of the "ideal" free software
project, they'll move sharp-ish to correct the issue encountered.

my limitations are that if they're _not_ any or all of those things,
or if those corrections _aren't_ made, i simply do the mental
equivalent of "syntax error. decrease priority of message. pop(next
task on stack)".  i don't _forget_ the incoming message - it just
gets... a lower priority, and thus appears to have been ignored.  "too
much energy will be consumed processing this discrepancy between _my_
ideal expectations of how free software contributors should
communicate, and work on free software, and this message.  that's a
distraction from spending energy on getting free software work done.
decision equals easy: work on free software".

that's what happened to you, martin.  it looked like i was ignoring
you.  it also didn't help that i also was sufficiently busy focussing
approx 11 hours non-stop a day for several weeks that some of the
things you asked me to stop doing, so as to reduce your stress levels,
i _literally_ didn't see them.

martin and guido: you asked me to apologise, some months ago.  to do
so requires that i express clearly what it was that i was apologising
_for_, as what i'd already apologised for simply wasn't enough and
wasn't clear enough, (and my previous apologies had several areas
where people assumed the worst, and assumed that i was trying to
disguise ego trips as apologies).  that's taken nearly a year to go
by, for me to subconsciously work on what to say, and work through it,

so - with the context above: you can understand and appreciate this:
that i'm sorry that i have different expectations of how free software
projects should operate, and for not knowing what the right thing to
do is when my expectations aren't met.  as in - i _really_ don't
know.  i seem to have this strange belief that if you solve the
technical challenges, people will work out how to move the goalposts
_towards_ incorporating the solutions, rather than away -
_irrespective_ of the "social" issues, placing "social interaction"
issues at absolute rock-bottom priority against achieving the
technical goal.  i'm sorry that this ethos and the beliefs and
expectations that i have cause people distress.


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