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Re: Python2 and Python3 checks

From: Matěj Týč
Subject: Re: Python2 and Python3 checks
Date: Thu, 22 Mar 2018 13:12:02 +0100
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:52.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/52.6.0

On 21.3.2018 22:34, Bob Friesenhahn wrote:
On Wed, 21 Mar 2018, Matěj Týč wrote:

The question stands like this: Is there a demand on automake side to fix this issue - to allow developers addressing multiple Python interpreters of different major versions? If so, I think that I can come up with some patches to get this working.

Is there a purpose to this macro from an Automake (creating Makefiles) standpoint?  Does Automake offer special Python module building support which depends on the Python version?

Majority of packages that use Autotools are C/C++ libraries, and they may want to build bindings for Python. As Python2 is the only supported Python e.g. in RHEL7, but it is also possible to obtain Python3, there will be demand for this for years and years to come as for the developer, supporting bindings for multiple Python major versions is a relatively cheap task.

Again, the problem is not witch choosing the correct version of Python, but supporting Python2 and Python3 in one project at the same time. The Python selection can be accomplished by a m4 Autoconf macro, but the rest has to be addressed by Automake.

Autotools is in it for the long haul since parts of it have been in use since 1994.  The issue of Python 2 vs Python 3 will eventually be resolved and forgotten.  Anything added today to solve what should be a short term problem will be an encumberance or problem in the future.
This is just adding one level of abstraction. If designed correctly, it could actually benefit the current code. Moreover, there won't be only Python3 forever. The need for libraries to have bindings for multiple Python versions will reappear again.
The ability to specify a maximum version sounds useful but it is difficult to foretell the future and a package using the feature might be adding an artificial limitation which eventually leads to failures because the requested version range is no longer in use.
Again, the main target group is library developers providing bindings. Projects with lots of Python code will not use Autotools at all. Therefore, it is not so much about capping the version, but it is about distinguishing that there may be more than one major Python version that needs to be dealt with in the build and install process.

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