[pypy-dev] Comments from an observer

Jacob Hallén jacob at strakt.com
Wed Dec 7 12:45:48 CET 2005

onsdagen den 7 december 2005 11.03 skrev Ben.Young at risk.sungard.com:
> Dear PyPy'ers,
> First of all I would like to say that I think PyPy is an amazing project
> and that you have all done a really great job. Also the comments I have on
> the project are not aimed at any people in the project, more just at the
> general direction it appears to be going in.
> PyPy is on the edge of something great. A maintainable, powerful,
> flexible, fast interpreter is just what the python community needs.
> However just when it seems that PyPy can start to have some real
> significance in the Python world it seems like these benefits are being
> delayed for more research work which may take a long time.
> For instance a way of writing a rpython module that could be compiled to a
> Cpython extension or a PyPy extension would allow people to start using
> PyPy now, and at the same time make faster, powerful extensions for
> CPython while maintaining an upgrade path to PyPy. This would bring PyPy
> to the attention of a lot of people giving more testers/developers.
> Also, most people on #pypy seem to ask about using pypy to compile their
> simple python programs to c. Now, this doesn't seem like a great deal of
> work away (better error messages etc), but they are (politely) told that
> this is not what rpython is for. Now if rpython is not for this, why did
> you write PyPy in it? The same arguments could be applied to most programs
> (python is easier to read/maintain/write). I really can't see why
> something as useful as rpthon should remain an implementation detail, and
> again, exposing it would bring great exposure and benefits to the project.
> I don't want to come across like a moaner (and indeed, that's why I stop
> writing on #pypy as felt I couldn't be enough of a positive voice), and
> the only reason I'm writing this is because I think so much of the project
> and think it has so much potential. The last thing I want to see is for
> PyPy to become a great implemention with many powerful features, but then
> find that it had missed its time by not being "results driven" enough. The
> world doesn't need another powerful research/university language, it needs
> a great production language and with PyPy I think Python could be that
> language.
> Anyway, enough of my ranting. I'm sorry if I've offended anyone or
> completely missed the point. I'll go back to being a hopefull lurker
> again!

Thanks for your input Ben,

I think you are quite right in everything you say, and there are people among 
the Pypy developers who would be very interested in working on making RPython 
directly useable. However, we are to a fairly large extent deadline driven.

The EU financing comes with a large set of promises for what we are going to 
do and a fairly strict timeline to go with it. Currently this timeline says 
that we are to work on core optimisations, stacklessness and JIT, with the 
work to be finished by May 2006. Some people are also to do support for 
aspect oriented programming and constraints satisfaction. After May, there 
are other things promised until the official end of the EU project in 
November 2006. You can see the EU financing as being a fully commercial 
customer driven project. The only difference is the the customer hardly ever 
changes his mind.

This means that (almost) everyone currently working on the project is very 
busy and doesn't have time to delve into interesting paths.

Fortunately, we are in contact with a party that is very interested in doing 
exactly what you propose to do, and may be ready to pay for getting it done. 
However, this would require people not currently doing Pypy development to do 
the work. I'm not at liberty to discuss this in detail. I would just like to 
mention it so that you can see that there may be a way forward.

Even though the EU financing is a straight-jacket, we should remember that we 
would be nowhere near what we have today without it.

Best regards

Jacob Hallén

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