[pypy-dev] micropython, a 'minimal python'...

Frederic Giacometti fred at securenym.net
Sun Jan 12 07:32:15 CET 2003

About a year ago, I developped micropython within a few hours worth of work.

The idea was to bootstrap the python build process with python itself, 
and get rid of all the autoconf/config stuff.

micropython is therefore a 'minimal python' in the sense that it only 
contains the minimal required to execute regular python code, including 
the base os functions.

micropython is a python interpreter build as a single executable using 
the smallest set of  source files covering only the base built-in  types 
(no complex numbers, cobjects built-in....) from the python distribution 
(modulo some #ifdef), and dropping the dynamic C module loading.
As result, micro python builds with no configuration at all, from a 
minimal makefile running under on either VC++ (nmake) or posix.

The idea is that, once build, micropython be used to execute python 
configuration scripts (in replacement to the config.in stuff) to 
generate the full-fledged (platform-specific) makefile.

The procedure has been successful. I did not go further just because I 
changed job and got a newborn daughter requesting my attention and that 
I get decent money in the house (which is something I have not been 
ablel to conciliate with Python, lately)...

I'm not really putting any development time on these things, but if 
anybody has questions, I'll answer them.
The source code was branched from python 2.1.1, and is available under 
the 'micro' branch' from the 'pythonx/ directory of the CVS distribution 
of JPE (jpe.sf.net).

The bootstrapping Makefile is:


The thrust beyond micropython (asides from the philosophical discussions 
concerning the lean development) was to propose an alternate way to 
autoconf/config, to bootstrap the python build process.

[For the curious: The development of the shared library facility in 
pythonx required ediding and fixing the autoconf/config files, something 
I sweared I'd never do again.
After developping it, I've been convinced that micropython should be 
used in replacement to autoconf/config for generating the 
plateform-specific makefiles for all platforms (including win32), using 
the same python config script.]


Frederic G.

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