[Python-Dev] A fast startup patch (was: Python startup time)

Carl Shapiro carl.shapiro at gmail.com
Mon May 7 17:32:09 EDT 2018

On Fri, May 4, 2018 at 6:58 PM, Nathaniel Smith <njs at pobox.com> wrote:

> What are the obstacles to including "preloaded" objects in regular .pyc
> files, so that everyone can take advantage of this without rebuilding the
> interpreter?

The system we have developed can create a shared object file for each
compiled Python file.  However, such a representation is not directly
usable.  First, certain shared constants, such as interned strings, must be
kept globally unique across object code files.  Second, some marshaled
objects, such as the hashed collections, must be initialized with
randomization state that is not available until after the hosting runtime
has been initialized.

We are able to work around the first issue by generating a heap image with
the transitive closure of all modules that will be loaded which allows us
to easily maintain uniqueness guarantees.  We are able to work around the
second issue with some unobservable changes to the affected data structures.

Based on our numbers, it appears there should be some hesitancy--at this
time--to changing the format of compiled Python file for the sake of
load-time performance.  In contrast, the data shows that a focused change
to address file system inefficiencies has the potential to broadly and
transparently deliver benefit to users without affecting existing code or
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