Re: [Rfc-markdown] [xml2rfc-dev] [xml2rfc] End of support for xml2rfc on Python 2.x is coming soon

Job Snijders <> Wed, 09 October 2019 00:00 UTC

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From: Job Snijders <>
Date: Wed, 9 Oct 2019 00:00:06 +0000
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To: Henrik Levkowetz <>
Cc: Fred Baker <>, Tools Team Discussion <>,,,, IETF <>
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Subject: Re: [Rfc-markdown] [xml2rfc-dev] [xml2rfc] End of support for xml2rfc on Python 2.x is coming soon
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On Tue, Oct 8, 2019 at 10:23 PM Henrik Levkowetz <> wrote:
> On 2019-10-08 23:47, Fred Baker wrote:
> > That all fine, and as predictable as you say. What would very helpful
> > would be a road map: if you’re using {windows X|Mac X|Linux
> > X|whatever}, we think you should look at tools {D,E,F}.
> >
> > Speaking personally, I am on a Mac and using XMLmind with Fenner’s
> > tools. They mostly worked (note the past tense) except when they
> > didn’t. Telling me “well, ABCDEF supports <IETF tools du jour if you
> > can read Sanskrit>“ doesn’t quite work.
> >
> > I used to write in NROFF. I’ll do what it takes. But really?
> I'm sorry if the text wasn't clear enough.  The roadmap is this:  Please
> install Python 3.5 or higher on your system, and install coming versions
> of xml2rfc using the 'pip3' command which is part of that Python install.
> When we got to the xml2rfc 3.0.0 release, I had planned to update the
> release note with the information about using pip3, but I'm perfectly
> happy saying it now, too.
> Of course, if your default python is Python 3.5 or higher already, then
> using plain 'pip' to install will continue to work.

We should note that the potential for pip/pip3 confusion is a result
of how the python community approached this transition (acknowleding
what their options were in context of how the packaging eco system was
set up). Not ideal, but it is what it is.

I think it would be good to update public facing documentation about
xml2rfc that pip3 must be used, to make it very clear that any version
of xml2rfc is not expected to work correctly on python2 systems.

Perhaps the final update to xml2rfc 2.x series should be to add a
check at boot whether the python interpreter's major version is lower
than 3, and if so, exit the xml2rfc program with an informative
message and a non-zero exit code, inform the user that python3 must be
used? Sometimes it is better to just break fast & early.

Between the name of the tool (note the 2 in "xlm2rfc"), the industry's
transition from python 2 to python 3, and IETF's transition from the
v2 to the v3 RFC XML format, it is no surprise to me end users easily
become confused. A simple strong message that python2 can't be used
might be helpful, even if it appears somewhat unforgiving.

Kind regards,