[pypy-dev] Question on the future of RPython

Leonardo Santagada santagada at gmail.com
Thu Sep 2 20:18:32 CEST 2010

On Thu, Sep 2, 2010 at 2:18 PM, Saravanan Shanmugham <sarvi at yahoo.com> wrote:
> one response inline
> ----- Original Message ----
> From: Jacob Hallén <jacob at openend.se>
> To: pypy-dev at codespeak.net
> Sent: Thu, September 2, 2010 2:40:45 AM
> Subject: Re: [pypy-dev] Question on the future of RPython
> Thursday 02 September 2010 you wrote:
>> I understand from various threads here,  that RPython is not for general
>> purpose use.
>> Why this lack of Focus on general use.
>> I am looking at this and I am thinking and comparing this to a corporation
>> that is working on this awesome product.
>> They are so focused on this awesome final product vision that they fail to
>> realize the awesome potential of some if its intermediate side
>> deliverables.
>> PyPy is definitely gaining momentum.
>> But as a strategy to build that momentum, and gain new converts it should
>> put some focus on some of its niche strengths.
>> Things other python implementions cannot do.
>> One such niche is its RPython and RPython Compiler.
>> No other python implementation can convert python programs to executables.
>> I am seeing growing interest in writing Rpython code for performance
>> critical code and even potentially compiling it to binaries.
>> http://olliwang.com/2009/12/20/aes-implementation-in-rpython/
>> http://alexgaynor.net/2010/may/15/pypy-future-python/
>> Is it possible the PyPy team may be understating the significance of
>> RPython? Am I crazy to think this way? :-)
> RPython was tried in a production environment some years ago and while it
> produced some very nice results, it was quite difficult to work with. Dealing
> with those difficulties requires a group of people who are willing to build
> RPython code for general applications, run the code and identify what the
> difficulties actually are. Then they need to come up with strategies for how
> to remedy the problems and implement them in code. This is a very large
> undertaking for which Pypy does not have the manpower.. It also reqires people
> who are interested in building support for compiled programming languages.
> Pypy is a volunteer effort and the only person who was interested in this has
> retired from the project.
> Sarvi>>>>
> This makes sense.
> But wouldn't the answer to this problem be to invite people like the
> Shedskin/Cython developers to join forces with PyPy?
> So that they can pursue the general RPython usecase you mention above while the
> others focus on JIT and stuff on a common code base?
> Wouldn't that be a win-win for everybody?
> This collaboration feels so obvious to me, that I am confused why it isn't to
> others.
> Considering that Shedskin's goals feel almost like a strict subset of PyPy.

I think what you don't get is how open source works, there is always
ten projects doing almost the same thing. Everyone at least once
thought "why does linux has this many media players/text editors/flash
implementations/jvm when all we need is a really good one with lots of
support". I does get me depressed sometimes, but this is the way it

Cython has a big user base that they have to support and lots of
programs that are in production today, shedskin is looking for pure
performance and the pypy guys want to have a faster python. Although I
also think that maybe RPython and the pypy python interpreter could
solve all this problems someday it doesn't do so right now.

I have used RPython in the past and the error messages alone would
drive some people away. Some group of people could work to fix this,
but I doubt it will happen soon.

What I think could be done to make pypy more visible to people would
be to have a killer app running on pypy way faster/better than on
cpython. For me this app is either mercurial or django.

Leonardo Santagada

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