[Python-Dev] 2.4 news reaches interesting places

Phillip J. Eby pje at telecommunity.com
Wed Dec 8 23:39:31 CET 2004

At 02:18 PM 12/8/04 -0800, Guido van Rossum wrote:
>I was pleasantly surprised to find a pointer to this article in a news
>digest that the ACM emails me regularly (ACM TechNews).
>One thing that bugs me: the article says 3 or 4 times that Python is
>slow, each time with a refutation ("but it's so flexible", "but it's
>fast enough") but still, they sure seem to harp on the point. This is
>a PR issue that Python needs to fight -- any ideas?

The only thing that will fix the PR issue is to have a Python compiler 
distributed as part of the language.  It doesn't matter if it doesn't 
support the full generality of Python, or even if it doesn't speed many 
operations up much.  The only real requirements are that it can be used to 
produce "native" executables, and that it be an official part of the 
language, not a separately-distributed tool like Psyco or Pyrex.  Then, it 
will perhaps be a sufficient "security blanket" to stop people FUDding 
about it.

I imagine you could speed up the Python interpreter until it's faster than 
half the Java JIT's out there, and people will still ask, "But can I 
compile to an .exe?"  On the other hand, if you add a compiler, we'll see 
articles like the above talking about how Python can now be compiled and so 
therefore it's suitable for all kinds of things it wasn't before.  :)

Of course, it would be *really* useful if the compiler were coupled with 
optional type declarations for Python-the-language, because then we could 
ultimately dispense with the current syntax warts of Pyrex (and the 
runtime/distribution warts of ctypes) for interfacing with C.  But I don't 
think that having the compiler actually be useful is a prerequisite for 
solving the PR issue.  :)

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