I find it very sad that people can’t get past these stupid language wars to even use a piece of software. I find it even more depressing that the same Linux distros that benefited from Python are now basically screwing it over by locking their entire system to antiquated versions. I can see 2.5 but 2.4? Hell we even found someone with a 2.2 Python. Stupid.

Zed Shaw writes that Linux distributions have killed Python. It’s a provocative statement, and reflects the extremes that are obvious in a lot of programming language discussion. I don’t think Linux distributions are killing Python anymore than they are killing any other language. You can install multiple versions of Python on a Linux box and they can all live merrily together.

Leave the base install untouched and you do not “destroy base systems needed to manage the OS”. When I am deploying Django projects I don’t consider would this project run on Python 2.4, on a base install of Gentoo/Ubuntu/CentOS/Fedora/… I just fire up a virtualized server on AWS/Slicehost/Linode, and run a provisioning script to install all of the dependencies required to setup a base Python installation (2.6 + pip + virtualenv).

Each project has a fabfile with a setup command, that then installs any additional Python libraries I need (e.g. PIL, BeautifulSoup, Django). The difference between my setup and what Zed is writing about is that I am my only customer.

The Mongrel team want Mongrel to run on as many Linux distributions as possible, without requiring their users to compile/install new versions of Python. Whereas, I don’t care if my project ever runs on a setup other than what it is currently deployed on. The distros haven’t killed Python (or any other language other than C), in the same way as IE6 hasn’t killed the web.

Update: coincidently Arch Linux made a major Python announcement yesterday. Their default Python package is now Python 3.x.