Overcoming Intertia: Why YOU Should be Using Python 3

I despise change for the sake of change. Change for the sake of change is un-scientific. Change for the sake of change is a small person’s way of imposing their way on people.

I’m a fan of Python. I enjoy coding in Python; it lifts my spirits. I believe that Python is a good general-purpose scripting language, but more importantly, I believe that The Python Language is well-managed. By this, I’m referring to things like correctly managed backwards compatibility: a script written in Python 2.0 will work correctly in Python 2.7; there was a clear plan for migrating from 2.x to 3.0, which was adjusted in response to community feedback.

I’ve been using Python 3 for 3 years (starting with 3.1). If you’ve used Python 3, I suspect that, like me, you agree that it does what it’s meant to do: provide an incremental step forward over the 2.x series, while fixing some inconsistencies and oversights. This is the main reason I would encourage anyone who hasn’t already taken the plunge to do so; Python 3 is JustBetter™.

There is an additional reason, as the title of this post implies; unless and until “everyone” is using Python 3, “people” will continue to use Python 2. Unfortunately for Python 3, Python 2 is really good and much of the good stuff in Python 3 has been back-ported to 2.6 and 2.7. This has resulted in the paradox of technological inertia; an inferior technology persists, simply because it is ubiquitous.

Now, as I stated at the beginning of this post, I do not believe in change for the sake of change. Neither do I agree that all technological inertia is actually real (see dvorak vs. qwerty) and I’m not saying progress hasn’t been made (Django now supports Python 3, for example), but the default python is still Python 2 on most systems that I’m aware of and until that changes, we all have a responsibility, I believe, to push for that change.

I believe that it’s just as important, if not more important, that we push for the small changes where we can, because big changes are more often than not an accumulation of small changes that happen all at the same time, yet they are more difficult and more disruptive (and often less successful) – you only need to look at recent events, such as those in Egypt or Syria for evidence of this.

By embracing the small changes, we make life easier for ourselves, not more difficult.

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