python-dev Summary for 2006-12-01 through 2006-12-15



python-dev Summary for 2006-12-01 through 2006-12-15

... contents::

[The HTML version of this Summary is available at]


Some of you may know that Steven Bethard, having taken over the summaries from
Brett Cannon some time ago, is no longer able to keep up with them. After much
holiday stress and busy days, I've come to take over this honor and archive all
the goings on here. I hope I can do a good job, and allow the summaries to
continue being a useful and transparent fixture.

Also, after catching up with my backlog of summary work, I plan to begin the
first summaries of python-3000 (and, possibly, but not likely, the python-
ideas list), as more and more actual work, rather than debating and theory-talk,
is going on there.

Your new summary writer,
Calvin Spealman


Indexing of Match Objects

Subscripting re match objects directly was proposed and the debate the waged
mostly on how to deal with slicing and to be the entire match. The
consensus seemed to be that returning a match object would break, largely
because m[1:2][0] != m[1], which breaks intuition with slices. Returning a list
as a slice also breaks the intuitions about the type of a slice.

Contributing thread:

- `a feature i'd like to see in python #2: indexing of match objects <>`__

Python and the Linux Standard Base (LSB)

Discussions about how to properly document the expected Python environment for
all LSB compliant distributions continued shortly. Focus was on how distros have
a need to split the standard library up, even if the entire thing is eventually
installed, and issues such as Tkinter requiring X leading to standard modules
being ommitted for flexable packages.

Contributing thread:

- `Python and the Linux Standard Base (LSB) <>`__

Number of Windows Installer Downloads

Guido was impressed with out download numbers on Windows, but most people just
attributed it to other platforms including and mirroring Python. Even taking
that to consideration, the ratio of Windows to source downloads has shifted in
Windows favor a good bit. The use of Python in introductory courses at MIT was
mentioned as something to push these numbers further in the near future.

Contributing thread:

- `[Python-checkins] MSI being downloaded 10x more than all other files?! <>`__

Deletion Through Iterators

The request was made to allow direct deletion of items from iterables through
the iterator, but the idea was deemed unscalable to iterables in general and
broken with dictionaries. The solutions to work around the problem were given
and generally agreed to be sufficient (such as copying all the items you want
to keep, instead).

Contributing thread:

- `a feature i'd like to see in python #1: better iteration control <>`__

LSB: Binary compatibility

The other side of the LSB issue was discussed, related to the CPython ABI, the
..pyc bytecode and the marshall formats, and exactly which versions of Python
may or may not gain a standard ABI, as well as how to carry this forward to
future (already existing and evolving) version of Python. Some mention was made
of the difficulties and conflicts being brought on by the idea of LSB standards
for Python, while the benefits of this were challenged.

Contributing thread:

- `LSB: Binary compatibility <>`__

Adding resume (206) support to urllib(2)

Daniel Watkins asked about adapting his HTTP resuming support into urllib, but
suggestions directly moved this to urllib2 and then to httplib. The conversation
quickly drifted into talking about how abstract and minimal the urllib(2) should
be, while the httplib module may grow increasing complex and feature supporting.
The original poster made no final comment on his intentions to follow through
with the patch.

Contributing thread:

- `Adding resume (206) support to urllib(2) <>`__

__str__ and unicode

The details of what an object's __str__() method must return were inquired. Must
the string returned by a str or any basestring? It was announced to allow
unicode objects, with no restriction on content. However, the caution that the
return is likely to be encoded into the default encoding was given.

Contributing thread:

- `__str__ and unicode <>`__

LSB: Selection of a Python version

Martin v. Lowis announced that LSB will likely move forward with Python 2.4 as
the first LSB standard Python version. How to handle future bug patches, as well
as the comfort of the distributions for being required to support an outdated
package (2.4 is already "retired") was considered. The consensus settled on a
documented support for 2.4 moving forward with security patches, and likely
even 2.3, as security patches are rare enough to not cause too many cycles to
be spent on them.

Contributing thread:

- `LSB: Selection of a Python version <>`__

Threading, atexit, and logging

A bug (#1566280) was previously reported, related to the ordering of the atexit
handlers for the logging and threading modules. Participants in the thread had
a general agreement that the threading module using such a user visiable
mechanism for cleanup and lifetime was a bad design in the first place to be

Contributing thread:

- `Threading, atexit, and logging <>`__

Creating dicts from dict subclasses

The built-in types can now be subclassed, but C code doesn't always realize
this, and relies too heavily on the internals of the base class. In this case,
PyDict_Merge was assuming too much; replacing the PyDict_Check test with
PyDict_CheckExact fixed the bug, but slowed things down a lot.

Walter Dorwald suggested adding a not-quite-as-fast path for sensible mappings
(including dict subclasses). Unfortunately, there was a bit of disagreement
over what constituted "sensible". Should the middle-speed path use iteration
over items (the exact content it needed), over keys (a bit faster in the current
implemententation), or not even exist (to avoid limiting future

As of Jan 8, 2007, SVN has not been updated; there is no middle-speed path, and
the bug is still possible.

(Summary contributed by Jim Jewett)

Contributing thread:

- `Creating dicts from dict subclasses <>`__

OT: World's oldest ritual discovered. Worshipped the python 70, 000 years ago

This was a quick and off-topic post about other instances of python symbolism in
ancient humanity, including a definition of our word "pythonic" to mean
"prophetic", which seems fitting enough.

Contributing thread:

- `OT: World's oldest ritual discovered. Worshipped the python 70, 000 years ago <>`__

LSB: pyc stability

The LSB meetings brought up the issue of standardized bytecode formats, again.
This has always been something discouraged from Python. Keeping the bytecode
format free and the implementation open to ignoring old versions, has always
been helpful for maintanence and development. The common reasoning of protecting
IP was used, although most in-the-know consider this to be a false sense of
security. Reguardless, it might be useful in legal ways, as trade secrets do
require a reasonable attempt at hidding them in order to be recognized as such.

The possible solution of importing encypted zip packages with a custom import
hook was proposed and seems logical.

Contributing thread:

- `LSB: pyc stability <>`__

Interpolated Strings (ala perl)

Perl/PHP style string interpolation was brought up, but is found unreasonable
for various reasons. Cons include the use of format strings in scopes outside
where they are defined, the dangers of eval, and possibly the general resisting
of any idea coming from Perl. This seems a highly unlikely proposal.

Contributing thread:

- `features i'd like [Python 3000?] ... #4: interpolated strings ala perl <>`__

Polling with Pending Calls?

Issues with the RPM library blocking interupts for long periods of time were
brought up with proposed fixes by patching the rpmlib bindings to
"automagically" poll for any pending calls. An existing patch was suggested but
did not seem to fit the case at hand.

Contributing thread:

- `Polling with Pending Calls? <>`__

Cross-compile Patches

Patch 1597850 is being actively worked, and will improve the experience when
compiling python for freeBSD from a linux environment.

Contributing thread:

- `cross-compile patches <>`__

Open CPython VM for type information

Would it make sense to modify the CPython virtual machine (bytecode) so that it
was easier for other programs to produce bytecode? Answer: No -- those programs
should produce either C (which gets called as a function) or python (which gets
interpreted by the python interpreter -- there are already interpreters that
don't use CPython bytecode.

Contributing thread:

- `Open CPython VM for type information <>`__

Skipped Threads

- `Weekly Python Patch/Bug Summary <>`__
- `Windows SDK <>`__
- `help for a noob - version for a sharp ARM <>`__
- `fileinput module tests <>`__
- `fpectl: does a better implementation make sense? <>`__
- `Small tweak to <>`__
- `features i'd like [Python 3000] ... #3: fix super() <>`__
- ` Patch <>`__
- `Python and LSB: Meeting Report <>`__
- `Virtual Python (was Re: Python and the Linux Standard Base (LSB)) <>`__
- `DRAFT: python-dev summary for 2006-11-16 through 2006-11-30 <>`__
- `Looking for new Python-Dev Summarizers <>`__
- `Adding C99 bool to struct module <>`__
- `Spam and semi-spam and neo-spam <>`__
- `Next PyPy sprint: Leysin 8-14th January 2007 <>`__
- `Distribution tools: What I would like to see <>`__
- `RealClearPolitics - Articles - Exit Rumsfeld, Smiling <>`__


This is a summary of traffic on the `python-dev mailing list`_ from
December 01, 2006 through December 15, 2006.
It is intended to inform the wider Python community of on-going
developments on the list on a semi-monthly basis. An archive_ of
previous summaries is available online.

An `RSS feed`_ of the titles of the summaries is available.
You can also watch comp.lang.python or comp.lang.python.announce for
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This python-dev summary is the 1st written by Calvin Spealman.

To contact me, please send email:

- Calvin Spealman (ironfroggy at gmail dot com)

Do *not* post to comp.lang.python if you wish to reach me.

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