[Python-Dev] python, lipo and the future?

Ronald Oussoren ronaldoussoren at mac.com
Sun Sep 17 21:52:21 CEST 2006

On Sep 17, 2006, at 9:29 PM, Jack Jansen wrote:

> Just wondering: is it a good idea in the first place to create a
> universal 32/64 bit Python on MacOSX?
> On MacOS you don't pay a penalty or anything for running in 32-bit
> mode on any current hardware, so the choice of whether to use 32 or
> 64 bits really depends on the application. A single Python
> interpreter that can run in both 32 and 64 bit mode would possibly
> make this more difficult rather than easier. I think I'd prefer a
> situation where we have python32 and python64 (with both being ppc/
> intel fat) and python being a symlink to either, at the end-users'
> discretion.
> For extension modules it's different, though: there it would be nice
> to be able to have a single module that could load into any Python
> (32/64 bit, Intel/PPC) on any applicable MacOSX version.

A 4-way universal python framework could be useful, but I agree that  
the python executable shouldn't be 64-bit.  I'm not too happy about a  
symlink that selects which version you get to use, wouldn't  
'python' (32-bit) and 'python-64' (64-bit) be just as good. That way  
the user doesn't have to set up anything and it helps to reinforce  
the message that 64-bit isn't necessarily better than 32-bit.

Having a 4-way universal framework would IMO be preferable over two  
seperate python installs, that would just increase the confusion.  
There are too many python distributions for the mac anyway. A major  
stumbling-block for a 4-way universal installation is the  
availability of binary packages for (popular) 3th party packages,  
this is not really relevant for python-dev but I'd prefer not having  
64-bit support in the default installer over a 64-bit capable  
installation where it is very  hard to get popular packages to work.

BTW. several sites on the interweb claim that x86-64 runs faster than  
plain x86 due to a larger register set. All my machines are 32-bit so  
I can't check if this is relevant for Python (let alone Python on OSX).

> --
> Jack Jansen, <Jack.Jansen at cwi.nl>, http://www.cwi.nl/~jack
> If I can't dance I don't want to be part of your revolution -- Emma
> Goldman
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