[Numpy-discussion] Time for beta1 of NumPy 1.0

Alan G Isaac aisaac at american.edu
Fri Jun 30 14:02:47 CDT 2006

On Fri, 30 Jun 2006, Jonathan Taylor apparently wrote: 
> In general though I agree that this is a now or never change. 

Sasha has also made that argument.
I see one possible additional strategy.
I think every agrees that the long view is important.
Now even Sasha agrees that float64 is the best default.

1. float64 is the ideal default (I agree with this)
2. there is substantial concern about the change of
   default on extant code for the unwary

One approach proposed is to include a different function
definition in a compatability module.  This seems acceptable 
to me, but as Sasha notes it is not without drawbacks.

Here is another possibility:
transition by requiring an explicit data type for some
period of time (say, 6-12 months).  After that time,
provide the default of float64.  This would require
some short term pain, but for the long term gain of
the desired outcome.

Just a thought,
Alan Isaac

PS I agree with Sasha's following observations:

    "arrays other than float64 are more of the hard-hat area and
    their properties may be surprising to the novices.  Exposing novices
    to non-float64 arrays through default constructors is a bad thing.

    No one expects that their Numeric or numarray code
    will work in numpy 1.0 without changes, but I don't think people will
    tolerate major breaks in backward compatibility in the future

    If we decide to change the default, let's do it everywhere including
    array constructors and arange."

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