Python 3.2, the youngest generation of the Python programming language, has just received its fourth alpha release. The newest release is the final alpha version for Python 3.2, and is the result of the efforts by Python developers who wish to make the 3.x platform better and, in the end, more stable.
The official release of Python 3.2 alpha 4 was realized on November 13th. In their press release, Python stated that any new features would be developed exclusively for the 3.x platform. The 2.x platform and its final 2.7 release would only receive developmental attention in the form of bug fixes.
The fourth alpha was created mostly for testing purposes, and members of the Python development team urge users to provide feedback regarding new features, ease of use, as well as any bugs that may be encountered over time. On Python's download page, there is a message urging downloaders to not use the newest alpha in production settings, and that it is only a preview release.
Python 3.2 alpha 4 comes with plenty of improvements. In terms of fixes, it addresses previous IMAP problems regarding logins. Consistency and behavior problems in numeric operations have also received attention, in addition to string/unicode issues, and there is now full support for a bytes environment. To follow the guidelines set in the still-active PEP 3003, the Moratorium on Language Changes, Python's developers did not make any changes to the language's syntax.
Besides the fixes, updates have been included for the Tools/Demos, Tests, and Extensions modules. To reduce contention, the GIL implementation has been overhauled. The Python debugger, pdb, has been improved, and developers have added a sysconfig module for accessing information regarding configuration. The shutil module has been supplemented with new additions, with archive file support being just one example. A pure-Python implementation of the datetime module and tweaks to the unittest module are other highlights. Last, but not least, is the inclusion of support for .pyc version tagged dynamic libraries and .pyc repository directories, as well as a new futures library for concurrent programming.