[pypy-dev] Re: Comments from an observer

Michael Hudson mwh at python.net
Thu Dec 8 23:09:09 CET 2005

This reply is solely to make a couple of points that I don't think
have been made yet -- I don't want to give the impression that those
points were less important that the ones I mention here.

Ben.Young at risk.sungard.com writes:

> 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?

Because we needed a description of the Python language that is amenable
to analysis.  I hope this isn't a new answer to you...

> 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. 

What results do you want?

> 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.

Yes, but I want *Python* to be that language, with its multitude of
existing libraries and useful dyanmism and all the rest.  Have you
read this blog post:


?  I think I agree with his point that supporting 80% of the language
is of much less than 80% of the value.

If you have new code to write, then fine, writing it in RPython isn't
that bad.  But it's the people who want to, e.g., use urllib2 or some
old code they wrote last year that I personally am interested in
helping, i.e. every single user Python has today.  This is why I'm
most interested in the JIT and the standard interpreter end of things,
not productizing an RPython compiler.  Now I'm not and wouldn't want
to be speaking for the project as a whole, and I agree that
productizing RPython would be a very worthwhile project -- but I'm not
going to do it, sorry.

I hope that this has at least convinced you that I have no intention
of PyPy being a research/university language, either.


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  My objections are to the editors' taste, the site's ugly visual 
  design, and the Slashdot community's raging stupidity.
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