Extending The Life Of Python 2 Projects With Tauthon


June 1st, 2020

33 mins 7 secs

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About this Episode


The divide between Python 2 and 3 lasted a long time, and in recent years all of the new features were added to version 3. To help bridge the gap and extend the viability of version 2 Naftali Harris created Tauthon, a fork of Python 2 that backports features from Python 3. In this episode he explains his motivation for creating it, the process of maintaining it and backporting features, and the ways that it is being used by developers who are unable to make the leap. This was an interesting look at how things might have been if the elusive Python 2.8 had been created as a more gentle transition.


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  • Your host as usual is Tobias Macey and today I’m interviewing Naftali Harris about his work on Tauthon, a fork of Python 2 that backports features from Python 3


  • Introductions
  • How did you get introduced to Python?
  • Can you start by describing what Tauthon is and your motivations for creating it?
    • What’s the story behind the name?
  • What types of applications and environments are you using Tauthon in?
  • How much adoption of Tauthon have you seen?
    • What are some of the different ways that your users are employing it?
  • Is this the missing "2.8" release? In other words, is this intended to be a bridge for simplifying the migration of existing Python 2 code to Python 3, or as an extended support window for Python 2?
  • What features have you backported from Python 3?
    • What is your process for identifying and prioritizing features to bring into Tauthon?
  • What is your workflow for implementing the backported functionality in Tauthon?
  • What are some of the cases where you have had to compromise on the functionality or syntax of a feature that you have backported in order to fit into Python 2?
    • What is your governing philosophy for how to manage syntax or behavior differences between Python 2 and 3?
    • What have been the most challenging features to backport and maintain?
    • What are some of the ways that Tauthon might break existing Python 2 code?
  • What is the story for compatibility with libraries that are Python 3 only?
  • What have you seen in terms of adoption of Tauthon?
    • Do you have any sense of the commonalities among those users?
  • What are some of the ecosystem challenges that faces users of Tauthon? (e.g. Pip support, package compatibility, etc.)
  • What are some of the most interesting, unexpected, or challenging lessons that you have learned in the process of creating and maintaining Tauthon?
  • What are your long-term plans for Tauthon, and how have they changed since you first started working on it?

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