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Python versions for Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick Meerkat)

Now that the Ubuntu Developer Summit is over, I'll be able to catch up on this
mailing list.  However I wanted to take a moment to summarize the session we
had on Python versions for Maverick Meerkat (Ubuntu 10.10).

First, let me thank the DPL Stefano Zacchiroli for coming to UDS-M and
representing the Debian community.  It was really great meeting and having a
chance to talk with him.  He's encouraged me to apply for DD status and I
think I'll take him up on that challenge. :)  It's also wonderful to see the
commitment he and Ubuntu Community Manager Jono Bacon have made in making our
two communities real partners in all this fun and excellent work we're doing.

My own personal principle for decisions regarding Python on Ubuntu are that we
(Debian and Ubuntu) should always work together and try to reach consensus
where possible.  We can also recognize that Ubuntu and Debian may ultimately
make different decisions, but they should be one of timing rather than
substance.  What I mean by that is that we can use the basic fact of our
different release schedules to our advantage.  With Ubuntu's time-based and
LTS releases, we can often be more aggressive in our decisions, but always
with a mind toward pushing work upstream so that everyone can benefit.  I have
to admit that I will not always know the best way to do that, and I'll look to
you for help.  Thanks especially go to Scott Kitterman who knows both
communities well, is well versed in Python, and happens to live not far from
me. (Time for a BACON PIG anyone? :)

So, on to Python...

I've started a wiki page which I'll use to collate all the work on Python
versions for Ubuntu 10.10:


In summary, we would really like Maverick to ship Python 2.6, 2.7, and 3.2
(beta) with Python 2.7 as the default.  Because 3.2 will not be released
upstream by then, we'll get pre-approval for SRUs to get us to Python 3.2
final when available.  I think that because there are few libraries and
applications that require Python 3, we can be relatively safe with that part
of the decision.

In order to switch to Python 2.7, we need to do some work first.  We need to
know how compatible the packages in main and universe are with Python 2.7.  So
to that end we're going to do several tests, gather data, and make a final
decision based on that data.  We came up with a requirement of 100% build and
import success on Python 2.7 before Maverick feature freeze on August 12,
2010.  We're going to start with a PPA on Launchpad to build up the Python 2.7
stack so that everyone can join in with testing and fixing build and import
problems.  We're also going to investigate ubuntuwire.com to help us out with
this if Launchpad's build system isn't up to the task.  I think we identified
about 1200 packages that need to be rebuilt and Michael Vogt has a system for
testing the importability of newly built packages.  My plan is to automate as
much of the work as possible so that we can re-use what we've built for future
Python transition, and I hope that you'll help me ensure that this work is
relevant and beneficial to Debian.

The key thing to remember is that even if we cannot make it to Python 2.7 for
Ubuntu 10.10, none of this work is wasted.  We know that we'll all be on
Python 2.7 sooner or later, so at the very least this will get us closer for
Maverick+1, and lays the groundwork for squeeze+1.


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