Python 3.2 Alpha arrives
As part of the efforts to improve and stabilise Python 3.x, the developers have released the first alpha of Python 3.2. Since the moratorium on changing Python 3's language syntax from last November is still in effect there is no change in the language or its built-in types in this release.
One change inside Python 3.2 is a new mechanism for handling the Global Interpreter Lock (GIL) for greater efficiency in multi-threading. The implementation is discussed in a posting on the python-dev mailing list.
There are a number of new, more visible, features, including support for repository's of .pyc files compiled with different Python versions, a pure Python implementation of the datetime module, access to configuration information with a new sysconfig module and archive file support added to the shutil module. The unittest module and pdb, the Python debugger, have also seen improvements. A summary of the changes in Python 3.2 are available in the What's new in Python 3.2 documentation and a change log details all the changes.
The alpha release is the first step in a road map which sees features added up to a 3.2 beta 1 release at the end of October, and a final release in January 2011. As with all development releases, Python 3.2 alpha 1 is not recommended for use in production environments. Python 3.2 alpha 1 is available to download as source, a Windows installer and a 32 bit Mac OS X installer (a 64 bit Mac OS X installer will be available when the next alpha is released).