Python performance

Tim Peters tim_one at email.msn.com
Tue Mar 7 06:32:56 CET 2000


[Chris Ryland]
> ...
> I'm just curious (being an old language hacker for 30+ years but new to
> Python): why is Python performance ultimately any worse than Lisp?
>
> Is it because there's only been one major implementation effort
> so far, and so people haven't had a chance to learn the techniques
> required to make it run fast, while Lisp has had 30+ years to mature?
> ...

Python was implemented by essentially one guy in his "spare time", outside
of academia, and raw speed was never one of his primary goals.
Portabililty, robustness, maintainability, and ease of extending with C
*were* primary goals, and Python meets or beats mosts Lisps on all of those
counts despite having enjoyed less than a fraction of a percent of a percent
of the total development effort that's been poured into Lisps (or Javas or
Smalltalks, for that matter).

nothing-a-few-million-dollars-and/or-legions-of-grad-student-slave-
   labor-couldn't-repair-but-the-mere-passage-of-time-won't-change-
   it-ly y'rs  - tim






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