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ActivePython compilation: why VS7?
by Kevin "kj" Woolley

Kevin "kj" Woolley, February 7, 2006

I had an interesting question today, and it turned out to have an interesting answer. I thought I'd put it here for posterity's sake, and to give people a little insight as to why decisions get made the way they...

I had an interesting question today, and it turned out to have an interesting answer.  I thought I'd put it here for posterity's sake, and to give people a little insight as to why decisions get made the way they do behind the scenes.

Someone wrote in asking why we compile ActivePython for Windows with an early version of Visual Studio (VS6 for Python 2.3, VS7 for Python 2.4), and if we were going to change over to Visual Studio 2005, and if so, when.

Not knowing the answer off the top of my head, I went and had a quick conversation with our ActivePython guy, TrentM.

It turns out there is good reason for it.  By using the versions of Visual Studio that we do, we keep binary compatibility with extensions for the Python.org distribution of the language.  Our choice of build environment will continue to follow the lead of the community to ensure this compatibility remains.

There was a thread on the Python-Dev mailing list about switching build environments to VS2005.  After some back-and-forth, this message told at least part of the story why it's not going to happen right now.

I would imagine that we will keep following the lead of the Python.org community to make sure we are compatible, and that binary extensions will continue to be useful for everyone.

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kj is ActiveState’s Systems Administrator. He was born in London, Ontario, grew up in North Vancouver, and spent several years in the Northwest Territories doing technical sales. As a technical infrastructure specialist, he brings over twenty years of systems administration experience to ActiveState.