[Python-Dev] 2.4 news reaches interesting places

Phillip J. Eby pje at telecommunity.com
Thu Dec 9 02:30:02 CET 2004

At 01:25 AM 12/9/04 +0200, Stelios Xanthakis wrote:

>>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
>I don't hink it's a matter of native executables.

As I explained later in that message, "native" simply means, "has an .exe 
extension on Windows".

For PR purposes, it would suffice to bundle py2exe with Python 2.5 and say 
that Python "now includes a compiler to produce executable files".  This 
will then be picked up and misinterpreted by the trade press in exactly the 
same way that the article Guido cited picked up and misinterpreted what was 
said about 2.4.

If you read the article carefully, you will notice that the author 
translated "we rewrote a few modules in C" into "we made Python faster by 
switching to C".  If you ask anybody what language is faster, language X or 
C, most everybody will answer "C", regardless of what X is (unless it's 
assembly, of course).

All of the discussion about *actually* improving Python's performance is 
moot for PR purposes.  Public perception is not swayed by mere facts (as 
one might cynically observe of the U.S. political system).  If the goal is 
to achieve a PR win, the important thing is to pick a meme that's capable 
of succeeding, and stay "on message" with it.  The *only* meme that's 
organically capable of trumping "Python is slow because it's interpreted" 
is "Python is compiled now".

Me, I don't really care one way or the other.  I used to sell software I 
wrote in TRS-80 Basic, so Python's performance is fine for me, and I'm 
certainly not a compiler bigot.  I'm just responding to Guido's inquiry 
about what might work to increase Python's *perceived* speed in popular 
consciousness, not its actual speed.

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