[arch-general] Python 3 Rationale?

Dr. Robert Marmorstein robert at narnia.homeunix.com
Wed Oct 20 00:23:31 EDT 2010

Just a little story that is relevant to this discussion....

I ran into a problem with python and proprietary software earlier today, but 
was able (through much tribulaton) to work around it.  Even after most open-
source code is using python 3, a lot of proprietary stuff may still depend on 
python 2 and it won't be easy to switch it.  This is something we may want to 
consider before we retire python2 altogether.

I was setting up a new printer (an HP Laserjet p1120w) which works with hplip, 
but requires a proprietary plugin from HP's server.  The hp-toolbox and hp-
plugin utilities that are the interface finstalling the proprietary plugin are 
both written in python (with a lot of shell script mixed in for good measure).

The PKGBUILD for hplip seems to do the right thing in that it uses python2 to 
execute the hp-toolbox code.  But the plugin itself arrives as a self-
extracting executable that unpacks a python2 script which it executes using 
the system python (i.e. python3 on my system).  This caused the installer to 
crash, preventing me from installing the printer driver.

Furthermore, after an unsuccessful install, the archive deletes itself and any 
of the files that were in it.

Fortuately, I discovered that if you extract the plugin-archive by hand (you 
have to wget it first), it provides a compile flag that waits for user input 
after extraction, but before installation.  I was able to access the extracted 
plugin install script and replace "python" with "python2".  

I managed to get the printer installed and set up (and print my lecture notes 
just in time for class) without any further problems.  

On Tuesday, October 19, 2010 10:00:29 pm Max Countryman wrote:
> Apologies, link cut in original quote:
> http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-3000/2008-February/011910.html
> On Oct 19, 2010, at 9:58 PM, Max Countryman wrote:
> >> I failed to find a reference, but I seem to remember the Python team
> >> deciding at some point that they intended to keep the name "python"
> >> for the Python 2.X binaries perpetually, and require Python 3.X to be
> >> invoked as "python3". Arch might be alone in making this change, and
> >> inconsistent with other Python distributions. EDIT: I can't find a
> >> conclusive decision but here is one discussion on the subject:
> >> http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-3000/2008-February/0...
> > 
> > There is any interesting conversation taking place over at Hacker News:
> > http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1808840
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