A realization about whether I can contribute to Python development
June 17, 2012
I semi-recently read Hynek Schlawack's My road to the Python commit bit, which includes an encouraging call to the readers to get involved in Python development. Reading the article briefly left me all fired up to start doing this, but shortly afterwards cold reality came crashing down on me as I realized that despite any enthusiasm I have, I can't really get involved in Python development in any useful way.
The problem is a simple one: I don't use Python 3 now and I'm rather unlikely to use it any time soon. At the same time, the Python developers have made it very clear that Python 2 is a dead end that is not being developed further and that Python 3 is the future; in fact, for Python development, Python 3 is the present. The conclusion is clear: if you want to contribute to Python development in any meaningful way, you need to be using and working with Python 3. Since I'm only working with Python 2, my ability to contribute to Python development is thus minimal.
(The counter argument is that it's still useful to triage bugs for Python 2, because some of them might get fixed in Python 2.7 point releases. The problem with this is that it doesn't change the fact that Python 2 is a dead end and working on dead ends can easily be described as 'demotivational'. This is especially so when the result of triaging a real bug may just be 'sorry, that's not severe enough to be fixed in Python 2'.)
This kind of makes me sad. Regardless of how crazy it would be for me to respond to Hynek's call (I am overcommitted as it is), knowing that I can't really do anything even if I wanted to is a little bit depressing. Partly it's depressing because it once again shows me how the world of Python development is pulling further and further away from the world that I operate in.
(Of course the real solution to this is to start working with Python 3. But that's hard for me for various reasons, including that a lot of the stuff that I work with is still Python 2 only and will probably never change. It's relatively rare that I start a totally green-field Python program.)
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