[Python-Dev] Single-file Python executables (was: Computed Goto dispatch for Python 2)

Steven D'Aprano steve at pearwood.info
Fri May 29 12:53:53 CEST 2015

On Fri, May 29, 2015 at 07:08:43AM +1000, Nick Coghlan wrote:
> On 29 May 2015 05:25, "Chris Barker" <chris.barker at noaa.gov> wrote:
> >
> > OK, I'm really confused here:
> >
> > 1) what the heck is so special about go all of a sudden? People have been
> > writing and deploying single file executables built with C and ++, 
> > and whatever else? forever. (and indeed, it was a big sticking point 
> > for me when I introduced python in my organization)
> For scientific Python folks, the equivalent conversations I have are about
> Julia.
> If you're not used to thinking of Python's competitive position as "best
> orchestration language, solid competitor in any given niche", then the rise
> of niche specific competitors like Go & Julia can feel terrifying, as the
> relatively narrow user base changes the trade-offs you can make in the
> language & ecosystem design to better optimise them for that purpose.

We've been there before, with the "Ruby is the Python-killer" FUD of a 
few years ago. If Go is different and does overtake Python, I think it 
will be due to its privileged position on Android.

Personally, I don't pay a lot of attention to language popularity 
statistics. Who cares whether Python is used by 8% of projects or 10% of 
projects? Either way, it's huge. But from time to time, it might be 
useful to look at a few different measurements of popularity.

According to CodeEval, Python is still *by far* the most popular 
language, at 31.2% (second place is below 20%), with Go at #9 with 2.3%.

According to Redmonk, Python is stable at #4, while Go has jumped from 
#21 to #17 in six months.

LangPop gives various different measures of popularity, and according to 
the overall summary, Python is at #6, but Go doesn't appear to be a 
language they look at.

TIOBE has Python moving up two places to #6, and Go (which was the 2009 
"Hall Of Fame" winner) doesn't even appear in the top 100.


I think there are some exciting and interesting languages coming up: 
Swift, Julia, Go, Rust and others. Why are we threatened by this? Python 
makes a wonderful glue language. It would be great for Python to glue to 
more than just C and Fortran code. For scientific users, imagine being 
able to call Julia code from Python, and vice versa. Instead of thinking 
of Go as an opponent to beat, wouldn't it be great to be able to write 
extensions in a modern language like Go, Rust or D instead of creaky old 
C with all its safety issues?


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