Ivan’s private site

December 6, 2008

New Python releases

The fact that there are new Python releases is nothing new. But this time it is a bit different. While there is a new, 2.6.1 version of Python (which is “just” and upgrade), there is now also a 3.0 version (a.k.a. Python 3000). And Python 3.0 is not backward compatible with the older Python versions. Although the differences are not radical (see the “what is new?” page), it is still true that older Python applications may not run with Python 3.0.

I must admit that I am a bit skeptical about this move. I just do not want to spend my time changing my old Python applications to run Python 3.0 even if they need further development and I am probably not the only one. Of course, for the time being, I can get by, because the Python community plans to maintain the 2.X lines in parallel with the 3.X line. But for how long?

The beauty of Python was (and still is) its simplicity and, compared to many other programming languages, its ease of use. It has already grown a little bit too complex for my taste in the past few years (E.g., I have never really grasped the big importance of, say, decorators and I never used those), but I could safely ignore those if I wanted. As far as I am concerned, none of the new, incompatible features in Python 3000 warranted such a radical change (well, maybe the better handling of unicode makes a major difference). I am a little bit afraid that the Python community has shot itself in the foot with this move which may become a maintainers’ nightmare. I am happy to be proven otherwise, though…

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