Well, I wasted a fair amount of my time for no apparent gain.
Unfortunately, all my benchmarks show this patch to be ineffective in terms of speeding up the interpreter. Anyone know why?
Probably you're optimizing something that is already quite fast. While your code saves a C call and a few tests, those kind of operations are rarely what slows down Python these days. My suspicion is that most of the the time goes into (1) allocating and deallocating objects, and (b) calling methods...
--Guido van Rossum (home page: http://www.python.org/%7Eguido/)