Monday, June 30, 2008

Python-dev - what a democracy

Many forms of Government have been tried and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.

-- Winston Churchill

Opensource is one big happy community, right? It's possibly the only implementation of a true democracy (since the Greeks) today.

My experience with this is on python-dev. (Yes, I realize we have a BDFL, but 80% of things don't need executive approval, so it's really a democracy after all.) We all get together find problems, talk, talk, talk, reason things out, come up with solutions, and... This is the part which can sometimes be a little annoying. Does it ever get resolved for good (committed). Many of the thousands of bug reports we have open have solutions which would probably work just fine. Why are they not checked in? My theory is that people are just to nervous of being to quick to go ahead. I certainly feel that. Threads will trail off with no definite conclusion, and it can be irksome.

Maybe, though, that's the way it should be. Python can hardly be considered bad or badly managed software. Things do happen and get done, so I guess I should complain too much. It's better than any other way we've tried. (Thanks, Winston!)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The betas are out!

Yesterday, Barry released the first betas for Python 2.6 and 3.0. Highlights that I remember (look in Misc/NEWS for all the gory details) include:

Now that the 2.6 and 3.0 are almost feature complete, (It was just noticed yesterday that some points of PEP 3118 have not been implemented. They will have to go in post-beta.) we can switch gears and start grinding on the bugs. What I seen so far on the tracker is already impressive. We've gotten at least 10 new issues mentioning the betas. Hopefully, the bug days this weekend will be able to stamp out many of them.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Summer job

I'm pleased to announce that Google will be paying me to work on Python over the summer. I will be working on Python's test suite and several smaller projects with the esteemed Georg Brandl as my mentor. I plan to rewrite to be a simple test driver instead of the too-smart-for-its-own-good application it is today. I will be implementing implementation-only decorators (aided by the introduction of class decorators in 2.6/3.0) and fixing that fact that tests are skipped when an import fails. Each test will receive some TLC from me to modernize it and use the new tools I'll add to test_support. Reorganization of the tests into directories by usage and type is also a possibility. And of course, I will be continuing the everyday duties of a core Python developer.

If you want to follow along, I've made a Bazaar branch at (That's just a "bzr branch" away.)

I'd also like to thank Guido for his support on this.