Link: Alex Gaynor's 'About Python 3'

December 31, 2013

Alex Gaynor just wrote About Python 3, which is not a bright and happy assessment about the state of Python 3. He says many things that I agree wholeheartedly with, from a position of authority and of good writing. He also crystallizes a number of things for me, such as the following:

Since the time of the Python 3.1 it's been regularly said that the new features and additions the standard library would act as carrots to motivate people to upgrade. Don't get me wrong, Python 3.3 has some really cool stuff in it. But 99% of everybody can't actually use it, so when we tell them "that's better in Python 3", we're really telling them "Fuck You", because nothing is getting fixed for them.

Yes. This. Wholeheartedly this. Every Python 3 only feature or module or improvement might as well be on the far side of the moon as far as it goes for me using it for anything meaningful.

And what he says at the end, too. Everything that the core Python developers are currently doing is completely irrelevant to what I do with Python and will probably be for at least five more years and perhaps as much as a decade. At this point we are living on different planets.

By the way, significant problems surfacing with Python 2 and not getting fixed would not get me to migrate to Python 3. I cannot migrate to Python 3 at this point because it is simply not present on platforms that I use. Very soon my best alternative to Python 2 will probably be Go, because at least I'll be able to compile static binaries for just about everything I care about and push them to the target machines.

(Using Go will suck compared to using Python for the problems that I use Python for, but it will suck less than building and installing my own version of Python 3.)

This is a drum that I have been banging on for some time so of course I'm happy to see it getting attention from people with influence, instead of just my lone voice in a corner. I'd like to think that people like Alex Gaynor speaking up will create actual change but I don't expect that to happen at this point. The core Python developers have to be very invested in their vision of Python 3 and its transition by now; a significant reversal would be very surprising because people almost never reverse such deeply held positions regardless of what they are.


Comments on this page:

By Twirrim at 2013-12-31 06:29:41:

I've had disagreements with various Python developers over the notion of 'just install python 3 by hand'. Config management can help once you've worked out the procedure on each distribution / OS you have to deal with, but it is still far from trivial (enough) for the benefits of 3 to make it worth it.

Maybe someday...

By Edward Berner at 2014-01-03 12:33:13:

Pondering this a bit I was reminded of some of your writings on different types of standards. http://utcc.utoronto.ca/~cks/space/blog/tech/InventedStandardSuccess seems relevant -- one could view Python 3 as an invented standard that doesn't provide much benefit over the existing standard (Python 2).

Written on 31 December 2013.
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