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Python slithers to 'significant' release

Five-year milestone

Reducing security risks from open source software

The open source community this week hailed the most significant update to Python in five years.

Python 2.5 contains major improvements in reliability, performance and efficiency, according to release manager Anthony Baxter.

Python 2.5 fixes 450 bugs found since the release of Python 2.4 and features 350 patches. The language is faster thanks to better exception handling and improved string operations; and a more efficient cProfile profiling module has been added. A comprehensive list of what's new can be found here.

Python, along with PHP and Perl, puts the "P" in to the LAMP stack - (Linux, Apache and MySQL slam in the LAM).

<pMany Web 2.0 companies, such as YouTube, Flickr, Digg and deli.cio.us, have alighted on LAMP low-cost and open source architecture. Start-ups have also sprung up that are trying to build a viable services model around LAMP by guaranteeing that different elements and version numbers work with middleware and applications.

However, Python and certain elements of the LAMP stack could have limited geographical appeal. Analyst firm Evans Data Corp reported in August 2005 use of Python among developers in Europe the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) had dropped by more than 25 per cent in the 12 months since Augut 2004, with 17 per cent saying they had no intention of evaluating the language. PHP also fell 25 per cent and Perl saw a 20 per cent drop, according to Evans.

It blamed the decline on the inability of Python, Perl and PHP to penetrate the enterprise.

In a concession to Python's potential pull among developers Microsoft, this month released its own version of the scripting language, called IronPython. Written in C#, IronPython works in Microsoft's Common Language Runtime (CLR) for interoperability with Microsoft's other languages and tools, and is capable of compiling to either Microsoft's .NET platform or the open source Mono.®

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