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FIX nose.tools.assert_is is only supported with python2.7 #1162
Nose only provides a warper around unittest that makes the assert* method pep8 compatible.
I've asked a bit if there were buildbots or jenkins running for matplotlib. If not, I can maybe try to set one up with python2.5 on the french python association server. Else, shiningpanda provides a jenkin installation for free for opensource softwares. That would allow to pick up on those non trivial and annoying problems :)
For the differences in the images, it looked to me like a font rendering problem. I can investigate the issues and open a bug report.
@NelleV: I python2.6 buildbot would be helpful, but matplotlib no longer officially supports python2.5 as of the 1.2 release (because it's so difficult to write 2/3 compatible code and support 2.5).
I have investigated shiningpanda and the past. Unfortunately, the runtimes of the matplotlib unit tests are so large that we use 3 times the daily CPU unit for a free project in a single test run, so it's kind of a no go. There is some Travis support in matplotlib now, but I haven't had a chance to really dig down into what it gives us yet.
As for the font difference, it may be that the test needs to be limited to a particular range of freetype versions, as some of our tests already do.
I'm in the process of getting the Travis set up now -- that should test multiple versions of Python. Assuming this works, we may not need to take you up on your generous offer. It probably wouldn't hurt to have our own Travis instances running in various places, though.