[SciPy-User] Least-squares fittings with bounds: why is scipy not up to the task?

Gael Varoquaux gael.varoquaux@normalesup....
Thu Mar 8 15:07:22 CST 2012


I am sorry I am going to react to the provocation.

As some one who spends a fair amount of time working on open source
software I hear such remarks quite often: 'why is feature foo not
implemented in package bar?. I am finding it harder and harder not to
react negatively to these emails. Now I cannot consider myself as a
contributor to scipy, and thus I can claim that I am not taking your
comment personally.

Why isn't scipy not up to the task? Will, the answer is quite simple:
because it's developed by volunteers that do it on their spare time, late
at night too often, or companies that put some of their benefits in open
source rather in locking down a market. 90% of the time the reason the
feature isn't as good as you would want it is because of lack of time.

I personally find that suggesting that somebody else should put more of
the time and money they are already giving away in improving a feature
that you need is almost insulting.

I am aware that people do not realize how small the group of people that
develop and maintain their toys is. Borrowing from Fernando Perez's talk
at Euroscipy (http://www.euroscipy.org/file/6459?vid=download slide 80),
the number of people that do 90% of the grunt work to get the core
scientific Python ecosystem going is around two handfuls.

I'd like to think that it's a problem of skill set: users that have the
ability to contribute are just too rare. This is not entirely true, there
are scores of skilled people on the mailing lists. You yourself mention
that you are developing a package.

Sorry for the rant, but if you want things to improve, you will have more
successes sending in pull request than messages on mailing list that
sound condescending to my ears.

I hope that I haven't overreacted too badly.

Gaël


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