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

Adam Olsen rhamph at gmail.com
Fri Oct 31 08:54:14 CET 2008

On Fri, Oct 31, 2008 at 12:24 AM, Nick Coghlan <ncoghlan at gmail.com> wrote:
> Neil Schemenauer wrote:
>> Sigurd Torkel Meldgaard <stm at daimi.au.dk> wrote:
>>> For a student project in a course on virtual machines, we are
>>> evaluating the possibility to experiment with removing the GIL
>>> from CPython
>> Hi,
>> It's great to hear of this kind of project.  I think what you want
>> to do is difficult but possible.  The major compilcation would be
>> that extension modules would have to re-written since they all
>> assume a reference counting GC.  A foreign function interface like
>> CMU Lisp's "alien" or GHC's FFI is not necessarily any worse but it
>> does place different demands on extension module authors.
> Michael Foord's comment about the way Ironclad does it suggests a
> possible interim step that would allow existing extensions to be used at
> the cost of some additional overhead: use free threading in the core,
> but have an "extension module lock" that cuts things back to a single
> thread whenever non-core code is invoked.

Ahh, or do it per object!  Convert the core to use a precise GC
references, but retain the refcount API as a sort of forced unknown
reference.  Needs bodging to retain our current handling of cycles in
refcounted objects, but it should be doable, and it potentially has a
lot less overhead (and is more scalable) than what I've got now with

Adam Olsen, aka Rhamphoryncus

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