[python-uk] A paper about Python 2 to Python 3 transitioning

Thomas Kluyver thomas at kluyver.me.uk
Wed Jun 20 06:28:50 EDT 2018

I haven't seen it before, but from the abstract, their central result is that most projects are maintaining compatibility with Python 2. This doesn't come as a surprise, but I'd add the words "so far".

They cloned repositories in March 2017. In fact, they already picked up IPython and Django moving to drop Python 2 support, but they dismissed that because neither had made a release with those changes, so it "cannot be taken as evidence of a definitive move to Python 3". Both of those projects have since made Python-3-only releases.

They refer to 'applications', but a lot of the codebases they examined are libraries or frameworks (django, numpy, wxPython, etc.). This is a crucial difference. Libraries and frameworks need to maintain compatibility for old versions of Python until they can be reasonably sure that the people building on top of them are ready to move. For many projects, that is only now becoming true.

A number of the projects they analysed have signed http://python3statement.org/ to indicate a plan to drop Python 2 support in the next couple of years.


On Wed, Jun 20, 2018, at 10:57 AM, Russel Winder wrote:
> Hi,
> I got a link to this paper on another email list. The person there thought it
> might enable Python 2 to have a new resurgence and lead to the death of Python
> 3. I am not entirely sure he was joking. Personally I am not sure the paper is
> sound in that they seem to be making assumptions and thence deductions that
> the sample doesn't support.
> Has anyone else seen this? Anyone any thoughts about it?
> https://people.cs.clemson.edu/~malloy/publications/papers/esem2017/paper.pdf
> -- 
> Russel.
> ===========================================
> Dr Russel Winder      t: +44 20 7585 2200
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