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Re: python again (was: Bug#225999: ITP: debsync -- installed packages synchronization tool)

On Tue, Jan 06, 2004 at 01:44:17AM +0200, Lars Wirzenius wrote:
> (Incidentally, a major reason to allow several versions of Python on the
> same system is specifically to make it easier to test your programs on
> several versions of the implementation to make backports *easier*, not
> more difficult.)

Why should you need to test your python programs on multiple different
versions, apart from determining what the minimum needed version is for
documentation purposes (and for that, the python documentation should help you
out).  The Debian Python Policy appears to consider each minor version of the
language as a new language, but only half-heartedly, which appears to be why
Python gets itself in such tangles.

If you said "we have python, it is currently version X.Y", then programs that
didn't work with that version of python would be either rewritten to make them
work with version X.Y, or we'd get a newer version of python (depending on which
way the offending program was needed).  Since all the Python we're ever going
to have in Debian is open source, it shouldn't be that hard to rewrite all
offending programs when we upgrade python (since it doesn't appear to be that
hard to produce multi-version-friendly python programs).  Think Perl in that

If we treat each minor version of python as a new language, we'd have totally
separate directory hierarchies for each one, which would happily co-exist.  I
think Tcl/Tk is in this boat, as is PHP (although we've only ever had to deal
with two versions of that, 3 and 4, with 5 perhaps coming along soon).

- Matt

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