WalkDir 0.3 released (for more Python versions, thanks to Shining Panda!)

WalkDir is my Python support library that aims to make it as easy to work with filtered directory listings as it is to walk over entire directory trees with os.walk().

The module's design tries to take full advantage of Python's iterator model - most of its functionality is provided by pipelined iterators that accept os.walk() style iterables and expose the same interface themselves.

The only major functional change in version 0.3 is that these pipelined iterators now make sure they pass along the objects produced by the underlying iterators, and only use indexing operations to access the individual fields. Previously they would use tuple unpacking to access the directory details, which restricted the supported types to those with exactly 3 fields and also had the side effect of replacing the underlying objects with ordinary 3-tuples.

I changed this mainly due to a new OS interface that is likely to be coming in Python 3.3: an os.walk() variant that produces a 4-tuple rather than a 3-tuple. The 4th value will be a file descriptor for the directory making it easier (in conjunction with new file descriptor based APIs in the 3.3 os module) to write filesystem modification code that is robust against symlink attacks. By passing the underlying objects through unmodified, WalkDir is now compatible with this API - all the path based filtering will still work, but the file descriptor values will also be passed along correctly.

For those that haven't seen any of my previous comments on WalkDir, the other parts of the API are just there for convenience - one factory function that constructs pipelines for you, and 3 terminal iterators that flatten out the os.walk() style triples into a simple series of paths (all paths, just the visited directories or just the file paths).

The other notable change in 0.3 is the list of officially supported versions. Previously, the module was only known to work on 2.7 and 3.2+ (since they're the versions I have on my home development machine). However, thanks to a free open source account provided by the folks at Shining Panda, WalkDir 0.3 is known to work on Python 2.6, 2.7 and 3.1+ (I even test it on PyPy and Stackless, just because I can). After pushing a broken package to PyPI for 0.2, I even have a sanity check I can run that ensures the module can be downloaded with pip and then imported on all the supported versions.

Using the SOPA protests to highlight related problems in Australia

I figure this is the easiest place to publish the message I just sent to Larissa Waters, the Greens Senator that is one of Queensland's representatives in the Federal Senate. I also wrote to Yvette D'ath (our local MHR) a few days ago, but I didn't keep a copy of that one. Will this achieve anything? Probably not, but hey, at least I tried (and if none of their constituents ever write to them about it, our reps are quite entitled to assume we're all OK with them selling out the county to legacy US media interests):

Senator Waters,

With today being the day Wikipedia and a wide range of other sites have either gone dark or taken other action to protest draconian internet censorship legislation making its way through the US Congress, it seems an opportune time to highlight our own government's ongoing concerning behaviour on that front.

Of particular concern is their continuing refusal to release details of a secretive meeting between government representatives and representatives of the same organisations that are behind the draconian US bills currently being protested. The government even deliberately excluded representatives of a number of community interest organisations that sought to attend these discussions.

These legacy media companies (aka horse drawn carriage manufacturers) are flailing around wildly as the rise of free and open digital communications networks (aka automobiles) threatens the cherished gatekeeper role they have enjoyed for the past few decades as media distributors. They have failed to adapt, and are increasingly being bypassed as artists, writers, musicians, comedians and other media creators find ways to use the power of the internet to connect more directly with their fans. These direct connections are great for both artists and fans, but place the intermediaries like YouTube, Apple iTunes, Amazon, BandCamp, Flickr, etc, in the role of service providers to the artists and fans rather than gatekeepers to widespread distribution. Unfortunately, instead of going gracefully into that good night, these organisations are investing inordinate sums of money worldwide in lobbying for legislation that would make the permissive, open practices of most of these new service providers a recipe for prohibitively high legal liabilities, effectively making those practices unsustainable and thus breaking the internet as we know it today.

Australia already markedly shifted many intellectual monopoly policies to favour the interests of US copyright holders at the expense of Australian citizens when we signed the US-FTA some time ago. We have also participated in the secretive process of drafting the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, which spends far more time considering digital copyright infringement than it does actual counterfeiting. The current negotiations over membership in the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement raise legitimate fears that Australia's intellectual monopoly policy will be shifted even further towards the draconian position of the United State Trade Representative, even as those policies are being protested strongly within the US itself.

In line with your published policy on community participation in government, do the Greens plan to publicly question the government over their apparent willingness to place the interest of large US companies ahead of those of individual Australian citizens?