python-dev Summary for 2003-08-16 through 2003-08-31

Discussion in 'Python' started by Brett C., Sep 13, 2003.

  1. Brett C.

    Brett C. Guest

    python-dev Summary for 2003-08-16 through 2003-08-31
    This is a summary of traffic on the `python-dev mailing list`_ from
    August 16, 2003 through August 31, 2003. It is intended to inform the
    wider Python community of on-going developments on the list. To comment
    on anything mentioned here, just post to or
    `comp.lang.python`_ with a subject line mentioning what you are
    discussing. All python-dev members are interested in seeing ideas
    discussed by the community, so don't hesitate to take a stance on
    something. And if all of this really interests you then get involved
    and join `python-dev`_!

    This is the twenty-fourth summary written by Brett Cannon (a year's
    worth of summaries by yours truly now under his belt; does this mean I
    am certifiably insane?).

    All summaries are archived at .

    Please note that this summary is written using reStructuredText_ which
    can be found at . Any unfamiliar
    punctuation is probably markup for reST_ (otherwise it is probably
    regular expression syntax or a typo =); you can safely ignore it,
    although I suggest learning reST; its simple and is accepted for `PEP
    markup`_ and gives some perks for the HTML output. Also, because of the
    wonders of programs that like to reformat text, I cannot guarantee you
    will be able to run the text version of this summary through Docutils_
    as-is unless it is from the original text file.

    ... _PEP Markup:

    The in-development version of the documentation for Python can be found
    at and should be used when looking
    up any documentation on something mentioned here. Python PEPs (Python
    Enhancement Proposals) are located at . To
    view files in the Python CVS online, go to . Reported bugs
    and suggested patches can be found at the SourceForge_ project page.

    ... _python-dev:
    ... _SourceForge:
    ... _python-dev mailing list:
    ... _comp.lang.python:
    ... _Docutils:
    ... _reST:
    ... _reStructuredText:

    ... contents::

    ... _last summary:

    Summary Announcements
    This is the twenty-fourth summary written by me. This is significant
    because this means I have written enough summaries to cover a year's
    worth of email traffic on python-dev (had I not taken a summary off back
    in October this milestone would have been hit for the first half of
    August which represented a physical year since I started doing the
    summaries). It has truly been worth the experience.

    But how much of an experience has it been? Well, for a long time now I
    have been planning on writing some code to calculate how much email I
    have read, who wrote most of that email, and what threads made up the
    most. With my move to San Luis Obispo finished I finally had a chance
    to write said code in an imperfect manner (imperfect because of things
    like names which are a pain because some people have their name set
    differently at different computers; "Barry Warsaw" compared to "Barry A.
    Warsaw"; threads are worse thanks to the changing of subject titles in
    the middle of a thread) so as to give me some approximate numbers.

    I have read 9469 emails that have passed through the python-dev mailing
    list. The top six emailers (out of approx. 433 unique emailers) have been:

    * Brett Cannon (277 emails when you deal with me just using my last
    initial; 2.9% of all emails)
    * Barry Warsaw (305 emails when you also count his middle initial; 3.2%)
    * Skip Montanaro (481 emails; 5.1%)
    * Martin v. Löwis (627 emails, when calculated looking for all names
    that had "Martin" and "wis" in them; 6.6%)
    * Tim Peters (694 emails; 7.3%)
    * Guido van Rossum (a whopping 1407 emails; 14.8%)

    The average person posted 21.9 emails over the emails I covered. But
    only about 24 people had more than a single percentage (more than 94
    emails) worth of emails accredited to them. That means that about 5.5%
    of the unique posters on python-dev accounted for 66.8% of all email
    (and I have gotten to know a good amount of those 24).

    As for threads (of which there were approx. 1252 unique threads, and I
    mean approximately), the top five are:

    * "type categories" (115 emails; 1.2% of all emails)
    * "PEP239 (Rational Numbers) Reference Implementation and new issues"
    (123 emails; 1.3%)
    * "PEP-317" (125 emails: 1.3%)
    * "python/dist/src/Python import.c,2.210,2.211" (146 emails; 1.5%)
    * "Extended Function syntax" (263 emails; 2.8%)

    What does this tell you and me? First, I have an addiction to Python.
    Second, PEPs really do get discussed. And third, Python development is
    alive and well.

    OK, enough statistics. As for this summary, it turned out rather light
    thanks to a couple of things. One is the shutdown of mail delivery by during the SoBig virus' peak. This not only cut back on
    the number of emails, but also led to me deleting *a lot* of bogus email
    on my other emails accounts. My blanket deleting may have caught
    legitimate emails so it is possible I accidently deleted some python-dev
    stuff, although if I did it was minimal. Another contributing factor to
    the light summary is that a lot of regulars on python-dev were on
    vacation. This looks like it will happen again for the first half of
    September so expect the next summary to be light as well.

    Python using Parrot; new code interpreter or strange evolutionary
    Pirate_ has now reached version 0.01 alpha. It lacks classes and
    imports but can run a decent amount of Python code. At least there is
    now a proof-of-concept that Python running on top of the Parrot_ VM is

    ... _Pirate:
    ... _Parrot:

    Contributing threads:
    - `pirate 0.01 alpha!

    Python 2.3.1 on its way?
    Raymond Hettinger suggesting pushing for a quick release of Python 2.3.1
    so that the 2.3 branch could be established as a stable version.
    Several bugs and performance enhancements have been committed to the 2.3
    maintenance branch. Anthony Baxter stepped forward as release czar with
    Raymond Hettinger saying he would help and Barry Warsaw volunteering his
    wisdom as a battle-hardened release czar.

    This discussion also brought up the question of whether a .chm help file
    for the Windows distribution would be worth using instead of including
    the HTML distribution of the documentation as it stands now. It was
    agreed that it was a good thing to have since it allowed for better
    searching. Tim Peters also discovered the install went faster since it
    would not have to copy a ton of individual HTML files.

    Python 2.3.1 has a "verbal" release date of the third week of September;
    there has not been a PEP to set the release schedule officially.

    Help would be appreciated in dealing with bug and patch reports on
    SourceForge. Even if all you do is add a comment saying "this patch
    looks fine" or "I can reproduce this bug" it can be a great help.

    Contributing threads:
    - `Py2.3.1
    - `HTMLHelp for Py2.3.1
    - `Fixing Patches and Bugs for Py2.3.1

    Making looping generators more efficient
    Would you like to see deeply nested generators be more efficient in
    returning their values? Clark Evans would and made such a request. He
    essentially wanted to have nested generator calls propogate their values
    to the first non-generator call directly and thus bypass all of the
    generator maintenance code. There was no direct reaction to this.

    Shane Holloway followed with the idea of having special syntax for when
    you yield each value of an iterator. The idea, once again, would be to
    speed this common case in the interpreter by skipping some bookkeeping
    overhead. A few syntax versions were offered, but the idea was all the
    same: special-case ``for item in iterable: yield item`` to something
    like ``yield *iterable``.

    Contributing threads:
    - `cooperative generators
    - `Graph exploration with generators

    Use of the logging package in the standard library
    Want to help out the development of Python? Know how to use the logging
    package? Then python-dev wants you! There are several modules in the
    stdlib that have home-grown logging code that could (and probably
    should) be using the logging package instead to simplify life. Read the
    email that started the contributing thread and see if you can't help out
    by converting the module over to using the logging package today!

    Contributing threads:
    - `Unification of logging in Python's Standard Library

    Some waxings on PEP 310
    PEP 310 proposes the 'with' syntax that came up a while back that
    sparked an immense discussion on python-dev. The idea was to have a
    more fool-proof way of having an enter and exit method be called before
    executing some specified code. The common example was acquiring a lock,
    executing some code, and then releasing the lock all without having to
    deal with an explicit try/finally statement. Samuele Pedroni tried to
    clarify how it should work exactly by requiring __exit__ instead of
    making it optional (read the PEP to understand what this means).

    Contributing threads:
    - `PEP 310(with-syntax): close synonym of __exit__

    Proposed PEP for a 'close' method for generators
    Samuele Pedroni has written a pre-PEP on defining a way to have
    generators grow a way to have a 'close' method that is called when their
    execution is finished so as to handle resources correctly. This is in
    response to not being able to contain yield statements within
    try/finally blocks.

    Contributing threads:
    - `pre-PEP: Resource-Release Support for Generators

    email-sig created
    Barry Warsaw has created the `email-sig`_ to steer development of
    version 3 of the email package in hopes of having it done for Python 2.4 .

    ... _email-sig:

    Contributing threads:
    - `New SIG: email-sig <New SIG: email-sig>`__
    Brett C., Sep 13, 2003
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