[SciPy-User] SciPy ecosystem and Python 3

Ralf Gommers ralf.gommers@gmail....
Tue Jul 2 01:47:42 CDT 2013

On Tue, Jul 2, 2013 at 1:55 AM, Thomas Kluyver <takowl@gmail.com> wrote:

> On 30 June 2013 20:04, Ralf Gommers <ralf.gommers@gmail.com> wrote:
>> That's not quite what I meant. Even on a work pc on which I don't have
>> admin rights I will be able to install Anaconda or another distribution.
>> All the basic examples in Python and numpy/scipy docs will work. But I
>> don't work in a vacuum, so I'll find out at some later stage that some code
>> that my co-workers wrote depends on version (current minus 2) of some
>> package that only supports 3.x in version (current). This should be the
>> exception and not the norm before recommending 3.x imho.
> Again, though, I think your coworkers are more likely to have written code
> which expects Python 2, than Python-3-compatible code which relies on an
> older version of a particular library. But that's a chicken and egg
> problem, and if we always pointed newcomers at the option most likely to
> preserve compatibility with prior code, then we'd never have started using
> Python at all.

I understand it's a chicken and egg problem, but newcomers are not the
right group to solve that. You want to give them the recommendation that
helps them get started with the least amount of trouble. One bad experience
(and having to do some serious debugging or even downgrade to 2.x is bad)
can be enough to chase them back to Matlab.

We'll get there eventually, but only when a good portion (say 50%) of
existing users and devs have moved.

> Hans also has a good point: if you're working in a group with a Python
> codebase, they should show you how to set up the preferred environment for
> that.

If only the real world was that simple:)

> I also imagine that we'll need to maintain a warning for some time after
> we start recommending Python 3, along the lines of "If you find code that
> doesn't work, it might be that it was never updated to run on Python 3."

No no no. That's a terrible sentence to write. Imagine you reading that if
you move to new language X.

That's not ideal, but I think being able to point newcomers at the 'latest
> and greatest' version by default will still be an important improvement.

Please keep in mind that it's much more important to you, as an active dev
who cares about 3.x adoption, then to them. All newcomers are getting for
now is some compatibility issues and strings they don't understand. On the
upside they don't have to move a few years later, but the business case is


P.S. I do agree with you on where we need to go, there's just no need to be
in a hurry imho
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