Arrrrgh! Another module broken

Stephen Hansen apt.shansen at
Mon Jan 18 04:03:17 CET 2010

On Sun, Jan 17, 2010 at 5:25 PM, Jive Dadson <notontheweb at> wrote:

> I just found another module that broke when I went to 2.6.  Gnuplot.
> Apparently one of its routines has a parameter named "with."  That used to
> be okay, and now it's not.
> Once I get everything to work under 2.6, I am using it forever or until new
> releases no longer break working code, whichever comes first.

Yeaaah, this is slightly crazy as an expectation.

Python is -very- conservative with adding new keywords, but we do it
sometimes. Yeah, 'with' became a keyword in 2.6... which we've been saying
it would for 4 or so years, and Python 2.5 was nice enough to give a
deprecation warning for if you tried to use it.

Major Python releases-- 2.x to 2.6-- are ... major. They aren't like little
patches which MS releases for WinXP on tuesdays, that comparison doesn't
even vaguely make sense. Its more like Win2k to WinXP to Vista to Win7. And
each of those, y'know, broke quite a few programs before the developers
fixed them up.

Its impossible to evolve a product with 100% backwards compatibility. Python
attempts to be as backwards compatible as possible, but depending on how
long often you do upgrades (2.4->2.5->2.6 is much less painful then 2.3->2.6
for example) and how much you know what you're doing (what packages are and
how they work for instance), it will vary how much effort it takes for you
to support a new version. Maybe none: I'm upgrading our core system at work
with a total of about 400k lines of python code including third-party
libraries and some autogenerated stuff, and about 110k of just
people-written code, from Python 2.4 to 2.6... and it all just works so

Yeah... if you use a lot of third-party libraries, you have to wait until
they upgrade before you can, especially if they're C libraries. Its really,
really, really not that big of a deal. Major releases happen only every
couple of years.

But feel free to stay on 2.6. Its a perfectly nice platform.

I'm looking forward to 2.7, myself.

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