[Python-Dev] Fwd: Removal of GIL through refcounting removal.

James Y Knight foom at fuhm.net
Thu Oct 30 23:39:54 CET 2008

On Oct 30, 2008, at 1:31 PM, Eric Smith wrote:

> Guido van Rossum wrote:
>> No offense taken. The V8 experience makes me feel much more  
>> optimistic
>> that they might actually pull this off. (I'm still skeptical about
>> support for extension modules, withougt which CPython is pretty  
>> lame.)
> The need to modify all extension modules is the usual non-starter I  
> see mentioned when this topic comes up. The OP really needs to think  
> about that issue.

It's not a non-starter, it's just a non-finisher. :)

One could take an approach like Apple did for ObjC 2.0: libraries  
should be ported over time to be able to work with both refcounting  
and automatic-GC runtimes. When you link a program, you can choose to  
link it with the automatic GC objc runtime, as long as all the other  
frameworks you want to use are compatible with that.

What this would mean in python terms:
- Python would be able to be compiled in either refcounting or auto-gc  
- Extensions can be modified to be compatible with the auto-gc mode  
over the timespan of a few years.
- Then when most extensions have been adjusted, auto-gc would become  
the default mode for python to be compiled in.

It's seems theoretically entirely doable, but will surely be a lot of  
work...someone'd have to be ready to really do the hard work to push  
it through to completion.


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