[Python-Dev] GPython?

Thomas Wouters thomas at python.org
Fri Mar 27 14:38:27 CET 2009

On Fri, Mar 27, 2009 at 11:50, Paul Moore <p.f.moore at gmail.com> wrote:

> 2009/3/27 Collin Winter <collinw at gmail.com>:
> > In particular, Windows support is one of those things we'll need to
> > address on our end. LLVM's Windows support may be spotty, or there may
> > be other Windows issues we inadvertently introduce. None of the three
> > of us have Windows machines, nor do we particularly want to acquire
> > them :), and Windows support isn't going to be a big priority. If we
> > find that some of our patches have Windows issues, we will certainly
> > fix those before proposing their inclusion in CPython.
> On the assumption (sorry, I've done little more than read the press
> releases so far) that you're starting from the CPython base and
> incrementally patching things, you currently have strong Windows
> support. It would be a shame if that got gradually chipped away
> through neglect, until it became a big job to reinstate it.
> If the Unladen Swallow team doesn't include any Windows developers,
> you're a bit stuck, I guess, but could you not at least have a Windows
> buildbot which keeps tabs on the current status? Then you might
> encourage interested Windows bystanders to check in occasionally and
> maybe offer fixes.
> As things stand, the press releases give me the impression (as a
> Windows user without a lot of time to invest in contributing) that
> this project is irrelevant to me, and I should ignore it until you
> announce "proper" Windows support. By which time, it may have fallen
> completely off my radar. (On a smaller scale, this happened with
> virtualenv - I found to my surprise that it now supported Windows, and
> had for some time without me realising, because when it started it was
> Unix-only and I had not bothered to keep track of it). Maybe again
> it's something that could be clarified in the announcements.

It's not a matter of chipping away support. It's a matter of wishing to not
write our own JIT, but rather leverage other people's work. That currently
means LLVM, but LLVM has a weak Windows story at the moment. Of course, LLVM
has little Windows support because it doesn't have any Windows users :-) The
changes done so far are (mostly) orthogonal to Windows (the actual
performance benefits may depend a little on the platform), but the future
work will not be. On the other hand, getting the Windows story straightened
out is mostly a matter of getting Windows support in LLVM, and not work
specific to Unladen Swallow; hopefully, we can use some of the Windows
knowledge on python-dev or elsewhere in the world for that.

Notice how I said 'currently' and 'at the moment' and 'future work'. LLVM is
also a work in progress,  See, for instance,
http://llvm.org/docs/GettingStartedVS.html . (And if we were to write our
own JIT, we would have the same problem but worse: none of us would be able
to write an effective one for Windows, if at all, and we would have a much
smaller developer pool to work with. And it would take much longer in the
first place.)

Thomas Wouters <thomas at python.org>

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