Python 3.1 - The Release That Time Forgot

Posted by Tom on 2010-01-18 17:47

So I started learning Python.

When lots of people on the Intertubes said that I should not use 3.1 because there wasn't as much module support I made a 'pssh' noise, rolled my eyes and promptly installed 3.1. My reasoning ran thus:

I was unaware, however, of the full magnitude of the problem. Allow me to illustrate using the medium of Google Image Search:

Python31 - <sound type="crickets" />

Python 3.1

Python26 - Holy crap, inflatables!

Python 2.6

I started off with Hello World, then decided that the next best step was steganography. It's something I've always been interested in, and it's got file IO in there, some bit-twisting, probably hookups to a couple of other libraries and plenty of room to grow - a good starter project.

First order of the day: start looking for PNG libraries. Plenty of options, none of which work with 3.1. Shame, but OK. I know nothing about PNG, so it's time to look up the spec. Before too long I'm loading chunks, learning to love struct, having to implement LZ77. Wait, what? At this point I made a face like this - >:  | - expunged 3.1, installed 2.6 and downloaded pypng.

You could argue that I should be lighting a candle rather than cursing the darkness - that I should stop whining and start porting code. In most cases I'm willing to get down and dirty. I've written loaders in my time, but I don't start to learn a high-level language so I can trawl through file format specs, especially when there's a perfectly servicably library 0.5 of a release over thataway.

In case you need any more convincing that no-one gives a crap about 3.1 then let's have a look at their online documentation:


I see someone's in a subdirectory. No illusions about who's the ginger stepchild in that family.

So there's some more anecdotal evidence to add to the pile. I beseech you, dear reader: if you're about to install Python, install 2.6.

[1] The fact that Mamma Mia is the (by at least one metric) most successful film of all time in the UK makes me gnash my teeth and dispair for the species.

I hate Abba. That's put that right out there at the start so that we may understand one another. Or at least that you may understand me. If I take the time to clamber down from my throne constructed entirely of rage and attempt to be objective for 5 minutes I can come to the conclusion that Abba is not bad music. It's musically well constructed. The lyrics aren't half bad. But all of that goes right out the window when I actually hear any Abba, as I am filled with a sudden urge to set fire to orphans or punch a baby panda.

Which proves to be a problem with Mamma Mia, since there is nothing else in there.

Here is a film with absolutely zero content. It's a hollowed-out corpse of a film. A flimsy celuloid husk. It's cinematic celery. You could get the same experience by purchasing a Best of Abba CD. In fact, that would be much preferable, as then you wouldn't have to the listen to Pierce Fucking Brosnan.

To be honest I'd given up on him after Die Another Day (you know the only thing more retarded than an invisible car? Having someone hide behind it), but Stellan: you should know better. I remember when you were playing a mathematical pimp and jousting with Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting. I watched you play the reserved and enigmatic Gregor in Ronin. What are you doing now? Capering. CAPERING. Well that's it. You're off my favourite Swede list. Peter Stormare: you've been promoted.

It's . . . it's just a bad film. A really bad film. The thought that if aliens landed in Kent tomorrow (let's face it, it would either be that or Norfolk), checked up what was the best example of our most popular entertainment medium and found themselves watching Mamma Mia makes me feel like crying into my lasagne.

I just wanted to get that off my chest. But yeah, Python 2.6. Thumbs up.