Friday, March 27, 2009

Python Language Summit

[this is about yesterday, I'm getting caught up]

Yesterday was the Python Language Summit. 40+ of the core developers of all the python implementations (CPython, Jython, IronPython) met to discuss stuff. The meeting was five hours in 1.25 hour chunks. Morning topics included goals for future releases, the timing of future releases, and what processes we need to change, if any. Afternoon topics were how to share more stuff (tests and benchmarks) across implementations, and how to combine different the various setup/packaging projects into one.

Meeting face-to-face is always easier than using a mailing list. The conversations are synchronous, latency is low, and decorum is higher. The meeting could have used a dose of Robert's Rules of Order - it wasn't always clear when we had reached consensus so topics drifted until even tangents had been exhausted. Some quick pronouncements might have been better.

What decisions were made? I'm not really sure. Python 2.7 might be the last in the 2.x series, or it might not. New libraries are more likely to get backported than new core language features. If you were expecting to continue on the 2.x series until a magic day when you found yourself writing 3.x code you will be waiting forever. There was some interest in writing a 3to2 source converter that mirrors the 3to2 tool. Because 3.x has stronger semantics (only one obvious way to do it) a 3to2 tools is theoretically easier to write; but a 3to2 tool might also target many 2.x versions so "easier" is still a lot of work.

The different implementations will be sharing more tests and benchmarks in the future. Probably. There was general agreement we should but it will be up to individuals to make it so (as always). Ditto for packaging - everyone agreed that the different tools should combine but the devil is in the details - so the discussion is being moved to the packaging-SIG list.