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Diane Mueller, December 16, 2010
Do you find yourself adding Python 2.x support onto your Christmas shopping List?
Are you hoping that Santa's elves will continue to build you toys with deprecated builds of Python?
Just after the recent release of Python 3.2 beta 1, Python's Benevolent Dictator for Life, Guido van Rossum tweeted "@ThePSF Support for Python 2 will not be discontinued anytime soon. There just won't be any new feature releases for it." which raised a minor poof of twitter-fed dust on the mailing lists.
All of which was started by the recent Python 3.2 announcement from the Python Software Foundation's Release Manager, Georg Brandl, who simply stated the obvious "Since the final release of Python 2.7, the 2.x line will only receive bugfixes, and new features are developed for 3.x only."
The reality is we're nearing the end of the road for the Python 2.x branch, and the most recent Python 3.2 beta release on 2010-12-05 is more proof of the inevitability of the migration to Python 3.x.
What does this mean if your Enterprise Application relies on Python 2.x?
The short answer is it "depends" on what Python 2.x release you are using.
It's only a matter of time until that even that level of support starts to waiver in favor of the newer releases. This is the normal order of transition support between releases.
In general, only the N-1 release will be under active maintenance at any time by the Python core community. That means, for example, during Python 2.7's development, Python 2.6 gets bugfix releases. Python 2.5 is has been in security fix only mode for some time, and Python 2.4 is not being actively support by the community.
Although Python 2.5 is still in widespread use, Python 2.5's last release was a only source code release for a security fix and the Python Community did not bother to build binaries. Python 2.6 is stated to be in security fix mode only. Python 2.7 gets bug fixes and may get a longer maintenance period, but will be getting no new features.
Read about the official Py2 v. Py3 note.
Put ActiveState on your Christmas Shopping List
ActiveState will continue to supply builds and technical support from 2.x on the usual wide range of platforms. ActiveState will continue to supply Business, Enterprise and OEM Editions builds and provide technical support for Python 2.x on the usual wide range of platforms. In general, when the Python core community cease to provide "bug fix" (not security fix) releases, we too will stop providing them. By the time they stop providing security fixes (eg: 2.4), we too would have stopped releasing it at that point (eg: 2.4). You should note that we too are no longer making ActivePython 2.4 builds, and the ActivePython Community Edition is currently available for 2.6, 2.7, and 3.1 on Windows, Mac, & Linux.
As Guido stated Python core community will continue to support Python 2.x bugs, but if you find that less than reassuring or are in need of more a more stable reliable support option for your Python 2.x, ActiveState offers a range of support and distribution options to meet your needs and calm your nerves.
If you'd like to add some ActivePython support to your Christmas shopping list, do so soon to take advantage of our Holiday sale prices for ActivePython Business Edition!
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