The PEP Talk


December 26th, 2015

1 hr 45 mins 41 secs

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About this Episode

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The Python language is built by and for its community. In order to add a new feature, change the specification, or create a new policy the first step is to submit a proposal for consideration. Those proposals are called PEPs, or Python Enhancement Proposals. In this episode we had the great pleasure of speaking with three of the people who act as stewards for this process to learn more about how it got started, how it works, and what impacts it has had.

Brief Introduction

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  • We are recording today on December 7th, 2015 and your hosts as usual are Tobias Macey and Chris Patti
  • Today we are interviewing some of the PEP editors

Interview with PEP editors

  • Introductions
  • How did you get introduced to Python? – Chris
  • For anyone who isn’t familiar with them, can you explain what a PEP is and how they influence the Python language? – Tobias
  • What are the requirements for a PEP to be considered for approval and what does the overall process look like to get it finalized? – Tobias
  • How has the PEP process evolved to meet challenges posed by changes in the Python community? – Chris
  • How many reviewers are there and how did each of you end up in that role? Is there a set number of editors that must be maintained and if so how did you arrive at that number? – Tobias
  • What mistakes have other communities made when creating similar processes, and how has PEP learned from those mistakes? – Chris
  • There are different categories for PEPs. Can you describe what those are and how you arrived at that ontology? – Tobias
  • Is there any significance to the numbering system used for identifying different PEPs? – Tobias
  • How does the PEP process maintain its sense of humor (e.g. PEP 20) while being sure to be taken seriously where it really counts? – Chris
  • Along the lines of humorous PEPs, can you share the story of PEP 401? – Tobias
  • How does the PEP process strive to prevent an undesirable level of control by any one company or other special interest group? – Chris
  • How much control does Guido have over the PEP process? Has a PEP ever directly countered Guido’s wishes? How did it turn out? – Chris
  • What is your favorite PEP and why? – Tobias

  • What, in your opinion, has been the most important or far-reaching PEP, whether it was approved or not? – Tobias

  • What was the strangest / most extreme PEP proposal you’ve ever seen? – Chris

    • Chris: PEP 501
    • Barry: PEP 507
    • David: PEP 666


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The intro and outro music is from Requiem for a Fish The Freak Fandango Orchestra / CC BY-SA