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05 July 2010, 09:40

Python 2.7 released

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Python Logo The Python developers have released Python 2.7, the last major edition of the Python 2.x series, as development efforts move to focus on enhancing the Python 3.x series. Python 2.7 sees the 2.x series move into "bug fix mode" with no new features being added. New features will continue to be developed for the Python 3.x series which is currently under a moratorium which has frozen the language's syntax for another year to aid Python developers planning to migrate. As Python 3.x is not backwards compatible, users will have the choice of staying on Python 2.7 or migrating to the latest version of Python 3, 3.1.2 which may not be ideal for existing production systems.

For those users who do not want to migrate to Python 3.x, Python 2.7 has focussed on back porting a number of useful features which were included in Python 3.1, such as a C based I/O library for higher performance, the addition of an ordered dictionary type and the new syntax for nested with statements. Other back ported features include a new syntax for set literals, dictionary and set comprehensions, and a memoryview object for exposing stored data. These changes, unlike Python 3, do not break backwards compatibility so existing Python 2.x code should run without problems.

Python 2.7 is expected to remain in production use for a long time, and on that basis, the developers have made a number of policy decisions: the Python 2.7 maintenance period is now expected to last longer than two years of previous 2.x releases and Python 2.7's warnings about functionality which may or has changed in Python 3.x has been silenced by default. The latter change has been made so that users do not see warnings they can do little about; developers can re-enable the warnings by adding the '-Wd' switch to the command line.

Full details of what's in Python 2.7 are available on the What's New in Python 2.7 page. The new release is available to download as source or as binary installers for 32 and 64-bit Windows. Python is available under the OSI-approved Python Software Foundation License.

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