Python 3 is killing Python

Steven D'Aprano steve at
Thu Jul 17 05:33:11 CEST 2014

On Wed, 16 Jul 2014 11:50:24 -0600, Ian Kelly wrote:

> On Wed, Jul 16, 2014 at 11:33 AM, Javier <nospam at> wrote:
>> I think there has been a severe miscalculation, and the change in the
>> name of the interpreter python3 to python
>> is a good example of the
>> disconnection between GvR and the real world.
> Er, that PEP currently recommends that python be a symlink to python2.
> It states that at some point in the future, the recommendation will
> change to have python symlink to python3.
>> Arch Linux was the only distro to fall in the trap
> You've got the order of events backward.  That PEP was created *because*
> Arch decided to link python to python3.  Neither GvR nor anybody else
> who work on Python have any control over that.

This is correct. When Arch first announced this change, oh, four years 
ago if I remember correctly, the core devs were rather dismayed. Some of 
them would prefer to see "python" mean "python2" forever (which I happen 
to disagree with) but even those who would like to see "python" some day 
mean "python3" thought it was *way* too early.

I think that the sensible approach is to start by migrating internal 
tools to "python2" rather than "python", then migrate internal tools to 
python3, and gradually move towards having "python" mean "the user's 
python" rather than "the system python". That will be future-proof for 
Python 4 and Python 5.


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