Python in Linux - barrier to Python 3.x

Steven D'Aprano steve at
Fri Sep 24 11:23:33 CEST 2010

On Fri, 24 Sep 2010 17:35:38 +0900, David Cournapeau wrote:

> On Fri, Sep 24, 2010 at 4:51 PM, Steven D'Aprano
> <steve at> wrote:
>> On Tue, 21 Sep 2010 13:54:55 -0700, Ant wrote:
>>> Yes you are right - I've checked on my home machine, and it is indeed
>>> 2.6. Still, no Python 3 unless I upgrade to Fedora 13, and upgrading
>>> an OS in order to get the latest version of one package is a bit much!
>> Or you could install from source, which takes all of three minutes of
>> effort. Well, maybe four. Eight if you've never done it before. Maybe
>> twelve if you're cautious.
> That only works if some cases. If you need some additional packages,
> especially ones which depend on C extensions, that may be difficult or
> even hopelessly intractable. 

First of all, the issue being raised was Python itself, not third party 
packages. Just because my distro supports Python 3.1 doesn't mean it 
supports Some_Random_Package-0.2.1 too.

And secondly, if it's hopelessly intractable to install a package from 
source, it will be hopelessly intractable for your distro packagers to 
build a package for it too. The difference is that if it's merely 
inhumanly difficult, the packagers can do it *once*, instead of expecting 
everyone to do so.

> Typically, if your want to install say
> matplotlib with pygtk with a custom built python, you are in for a fun
> ride because you have to rebuild everything.

That's not what I consider a typical case. But I take your point.

> That the cases where you
> really want something that integrates well with the native packaging
> system, whatever that ends up to be.

Oh of course. That's the ideal situation. But just because something 
falls short of the ideal doesn't mean you can't still get it. If you want 
Python 3.1 and your distro doesn't support it, you don't *have* to change 


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