[SciPy-User] Pylab - standard packages

Thomas Kluyver takowl@gmail....
Fri Sep 21 18:46:00 CDT 2012

On 21 September 2012 23:26, Fernando Perez <fperez.net@gmail.com> wrote:
> Well, but the point of pylab *is* partly to 'legislate', since we're
> defining a spec.  So it's a valid, relevant and I would argue
> important question.  My contention is that
> - *not* putting *a* notebook system into the spec is a mistake,
> - if one is going to go in, the ipython one is the sensible choice.

I see where both of you are coming from, but I'll argue from
Nathaniel's side for a moment.

Fernando sees Pylab as a way to push forward a system that outstrips
the alternatives. Nathaniel views it as a formalisation of existing
norms, which is also the angle I've come from. By analogy with Linux
distributions, we are defining something like Linux Standard Base, and
it's up to individual distributions to push what they consider the
best possible experience. Imagine the protests if LSB specified a
desktop environment. ;-)

We already have major distributions which ship able to run the IPython
notebook, and I don't expect them to drop that. If (when?) it becomes
a de facto standard, we can add it as a requirement to a future
version of the Pylab standard.

In a sense, the minimum common denominator *is* what I'm aiming for,
although that's obviously not how I would phrase it. I absolutely
agree that the community should aim high, and we have some amazing
tools to offer. But I don't think a standard is the right place to
promote the latest and greatest. It's the launch pad, not the rocket.

Nathaniel (some way above):
> I just think we should remain agnostic for now about how you "ask for
> a shell" -- whether that's opening an ipython notebook, or clicking
> Interpreter -> New in Spyder, or whatever.

This is exactly the *wrong* place to be agnostic. The very first thing
in the tutorial should be specified as precisely as possible - start a
terminal, enter 'ipython --pylab'. Of course, the distribution can
provide and promote whatever interfaces they want in addition to that
- embedded shells, notebooks, IDEs, and so on. Curious users will
always explore beyond the tutorial. But I think it's very important
that there's a consistent, predictable way to bring up a shell across
all distributions. And as we discussed before, IPython-the-REPL *is* a
de facto standard.


More information about the SciPy-User mailing list