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posted by martyb on Friday July 13 2018, @12:58PM   Printer-friendly
from the pass-it-on dept.

On a python developers' mailing list for the core developers, Python Committers, Benevolent Dictator for Life Guido van Rossum has announced that he is stepping down effective immediately and with out appointing a successor.

Now that PEP 572 is done, I don't ever want to have to fight so hard for a
PEP and find that so many people despise my decisions.

I would like to remove myself entirely from the decision process. I'll
still be there for a while as an ordinary core dev, and I'll still be
available to mentor people -- possibly more available. But I'm basically
giving myself a permanent vacation from being BDFL, and you all will be on
your own.

After all that's eventually going to happen regardless -- there's still
that bus lurking around the corner, and I'm not getting younger... (I'll
spare you the list of medical issues.)

I am not going to appoint a successor.

[...] I'll still be here, but I'm trying to let you all figure something out for
yourselves. I'm tired, and need a very long break.


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  • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Monday July 16 2018, @02:32PM (3 children)

    by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Monday July 16 2018, @02:32PM (#707893) Journal

    On the subject of "bloat".

    One man's "bloat" is another man's "features".

    Word is a much larger and slower program than Notepad.

    Linux is a much larger and more complex system than CP/M.

    People complain about bloat but are blind to the features. The most simplistic text editors today do on the fly spelling error detection.

    --
    People who think Republicans wouldn't dare destroy Social Security or Medicare should ask women about Roe v Wade.
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  • (Score: 2) by jmorris on Tuesday July 17 2018, @03:21AM (2 children)

    by jmorris (4844) on Tuesday July 17 2018, @03:21AM (#708194)

    Comparing Word to Notepad is silly. I'm not being a grumpus demanding people use Latex and to get off of my lawn.

    Instead of Notepad, compare a modern Microsoft Word (or LibreOffice Writer that opens to a blank document with 209MB of resident set consumed) to Lotus Smartsuite of the day, or even Microsoft Office 95. Both have full featured productivity packages with the full GUI experience, OLE/DDE, tons of typefaces, both bitmap and vector graphics, embedded media, programming languages embedded in text documents, the good, the bad and the ugly of the "Integrated Office Suite" that ran on machines with far less than a single GB of ram and shipped on floppies or a single CD. We aren't talking about a "little" bloat here; we are witnessing a factor of 100 increase in memory usage for little obvious benefit to the user. Nobody really cares because Moore's Law provided but somebody should be asking "WTF is going on?" If you want to know why your phone can't make it through a day, answering the bloat question is a lot productive than demanding the engineers to solve getting 8 cores and 8GB of ram to stay lit all day on a small battery. If we could get 1990s era software to run on a mobile platform you could run a week on a charge. Imagine applying modern tech to scale down instead of up, instead of extracting more MHz we instead optimized the software to run well on sub GHz cores and half a GB of ram and used modern fabrication to make it consume minimal power. Then there is the GPU, not sure what can be done about that problem...

    • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Tuesday July 17 2018, @01:34PM (1 child)

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday July 17 2018, @01:34PM (#708320) Journal

      You make a good point. There REALLY IS bloat. But my point is that not all increased demand for cycles and bytes are due to bloat. I had been re-reading BYTE magazine from it's first issue.

      https://www.americanradiohistory.com/Byte_Magazine.htm [americanradiohistory.com]

      https://archive.org/details/byte-magazine [archive.org]

      I am struck by:
      * how shockingly primitive the technology was
      * how much they could get done with so little
      * how limited the usefulness of systems actually were
      * how poor the programming productivity was compared to modern tools / languages

      That leads me to another point. Sometimes the "bloat" or inefficiency you describe is due to efforts to save human programmer time. The most expensive resource these days is no longer the computer, but the people who write software. Sure I could write in assembly language and optimize to the hilt. But the gains would be VASTLY outweighed by the cost. Instead most software is written in higher level languages, more abstract frameworks, etc. The inefficiency is outweighed by the cost savings of development.

      Hypothetical example: If I can write a web based business application in Java and it only needs twice the CPU and six times the memory of a program in C++, but I can beat my competitor to market by a year, my bosses will say that is cheap at the price! You need an extra 64 GB of ram on this fire breathing 8 socket server? No problem! I'm optimizing for dollars, not for cycles and bytes. That is a legitimate tradeoff which people can choose to make.

      --
      People who think Republicans wouldn't dare destroy Social Security or Medicare should ask women about Roe v Wade.
      • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Tuesday July 17 2018, @01:36PM

        by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday July 17 2018, @01:36PM (#708321) Journal

        Another example: If you asked most people this question: Would you prefer to have your next software upgrade six months sooner if it used 25 % more memory? I wonder what the answer would be?

        --
        People who think Republicans wouldn't dare destroy Social Security or Medicare should ask women about Roe v Wade.