GNU/Linux vs. Windows as Python platform

Alex Martelli aleaxit at
Fri May 18 10:47:35 CEST 2001

"Tim Peters" < at> wrote in message
news:mailman.990172586.27225.python-list at
> > Summary of what read so far.  Answer depends on priority.  For
> > standalone Python programs, running under Linux might well give more
> > and more speed.  For application automation, Windows/COM still easily
> > beats Linux.
> Well, that, plus for applications period.  I don't count developer tools
> applications in this sense:  if you ever want to something *other* than
> program with your box, Windows is simply loads more fun.  Heh:  just last

Not necessarily.  Some people, for example, prefer to play bridge
rather than develop programs exploring how bridge really works (no
accounting for tastes).  The best bridge-playing program is GIB
(the same one that makes available the double-dummy engine I use
in my research -- it uses that double-dummy engine to play, too).
GIB is available for both Windows and Linux boxes.  The GUI is the
same (the GUI was written in Java, I think).  Playing bridge well
is a *VERY* computationally demanding task for a computer.  The
20% or so gain in speed you can get on Linux for the DD engine
means GIB can play quite a bit better for a given thinking-time
you assign it, or quite a bit faster with equal quality.  People
who like to play bridge against their computer tend to appreciate
play quality and speed, and so might easily have "loads more fun"
if Linux rather than Windows was running their box.

I'm told (but have no personal experience) that similar issues
may apply to other applications that are not developer tools; e.g.,
that the GIMP is "loads more fun" to use than Photoshop (somebody
who thinks advanced image processing is 'fun' can hardly be taken
as a representative sample of anything, of course).  Responsiveness
of the application can be part of one's criteria for "fun", and,
for a given fixed budget, you can get a faster, more responsive
box for Linux than you can for Windows (let alone Windows/2000,
which is costlier than /98 or /ME, although higher-quality too).

On the other hand, there's no gainsaying the pervasiveness of COM
on Windows and the huge advantages it gives to Python there.  No
doubt you CAN use Python on Linux to automate [whatever] -- just
get the sources for [whatever], add an API, expose it with Swing,
etc.  But, on Windows, the [whatever] WILL already have a COM
interface exposed, and generally quite ready for Python use (WITH
exceptions -- SOME rich and complex applications expose barely
usable COM interfaces, generally a thin layer over some other
pre-existing API's not following the usual COM approaches and
idioms, and those may be a real challenge; this is an exception
rather than the rule, however).


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