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Python 'Language Summit' 2024: Security Workflows, Calendar Versioning, Transforms and Lightning Talks

Published by Slashdot on Sat, 15 Jun 2024

Friday the Python Software Foundation published several blog posts about this year's "Python Language Summit" May 15th (before PyCon US), which featured talks and discussions by core developers, triagers, and Python implementation maintainers. There were several lightning talks. One talk came from the maintainer of the PyO3 project, offering Rust bindings for the Python C API (which requires mapping Rust concepts to Pythonleaving a question as to how to map Rust's error-handling panic! macro). There was a talk on formalizing the PEP prototype process, and a talk on whether the Python team should have a more official presence in the Apple App Store (and maybe the Google Play Store). One talk suggested changing the formatting of error messages for assert statements, and one covered a "highly experimental" project to support structured data sharing between Python subinterpreters. One talk covered Python's "unsupported build" warning and how it should behave on platforms beyond Python's officially supported list. Python Foundation blog posts also covered some of the longer talks, including one on the idea of using type annotations as a mechanism for transformers. One talk covered the new interactive REPL interpreter coming to Python 3.13. And one talk focused on Python's security model after the xz-utils backdoor:Pablo Galindo Salgado, Steering Council member and the release manager for Python 3.10 and 3.11, brought this topic to the Language Summit to discuss what could be done to improve Python's security model... Pablo noted the similarities shared between CPython and xz-utils, referencing the previous Language Summit's talk on core developer burnout, the number of modules in the standard library that have one or zero maintainers, the high ratio of maintainers to source code, and the use of autotools for configuration. Autotools was used by [xz's] Jia Tan as part of the backdoor, specifically to obscure the changes to tainted release artifacts. Pablo confirmed along with many nods of agreement that indeed, CPython could be vulnerable to a contributor or core developer getting secretly malicious changes merged into the project. For multiple reasons like being able to fix bugs and single-maintainer modules, CPython doesn't require reviewers on the pull requests of core developers. This can lead to "unilateral action", meaning that a change is introduced into CPython without the review of someone besides the author. Other situations like release managers backporting fixes to other branches without review are common. Much discussion ensued about the possibility of altering workflows (including pull request reviews), identity verification, and the importance of post-incident action plans. Guido van Rossum suggested a "higher bar" for granting write access, but in the end "Overall it was clear there is more discussion and work to be done in this rapidly changing area." In another talk, Hugo van Kemenade, the newly announced Release Manager for Python 3.14 and 3.15, "started the Language Summit with a proposal to change Python's versioning scheme.The perception of Python using semantic versioning is a source of confusion for users who don't expect backwards incompatible changes when upgrading to new versions of Python. In reality almost all new feature releases of Python include backwards incompatible changes such as the removal of "dead batteries" where PEP 594 marked 19 modules for removal in Python 3.13. Calendar Versioning (CalVer) encompasses a wide array of different versioning schemes that have one property in common: using the release date as part of a release's version... Hugo offered multiple proposed versioning schemes, including: - Using the release year as minor version (3.YY.micro, "3.26.0")- Using the release year as major version (YY.0.micro, "26.0.0")- Using the release year and month as major and minor version (YY.MM.micro, "26.10.0") [...] Overall the proposal to use the current year as the minor version was well-received, Hugo mentioned that he'd be drafting up a PEP for this change.Read more of this story at Slashdot.
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