[Python-ideas] size of the installation of Python on mobile devices

Nick Coghlan ncoghlan at gmail.com
Sat Jul 30 04:28:05 EDT 2016

On 30 July 2016 at 17:25, Stephen J. Turnbull
<turnbull.stephen.fw at u.tsukuba.ac.jp> wrote:
> Xavier de Gaye writes:
> On the other hand, there doesn't seem to be demand for a "generic"
> sourceless distribution -- removing source is the *easy* part.  In
> fact there are many use cases that *need* variants, so it seems to me
> that it would be likely to be a real hairball of optional features.

While you're not wrong about the complexity of the problem at hand,
there are actually a few different problem domains pushing towards
offering better mainline support for stripped down special purpose
builds of the CPython runtime:

- mobile devices
- embedded devices
- self-contained binaries
- Linux container images (& even unikernels)

These are all cases where "How do we make the core Python installation
smaller?" is a reasonable question to ask (to either reduce storage
requirements or to reduce network usage), and "use MicroPython instead
of CPython" isn't always going to be the right answer (e.g. if you
need CPython C API support).

These are also all cases where the ability to automate builds and
updates encourages pushing more complexity into the build process in
pursuit of simplification and minimisation of the runtime components.

If we say "pursue this problem outside the core", then odds are pretty
good that those communities will all settle on different approaches,
and we'll end up with four (or more) redundant sets of tooling and
techniques for installation minimisation. By contrast, if we say
"pursue improved solutions to this problem as part of CPython, but
you'll need to keep these other potential use cases in mind", we
increase the changes for "one obvious way" to be formulated, even if
people have different motives for caring about the problem.


Nick Coghlan   |   ncoghlan at gmail.com   |   Brisbane, Australia

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