Is Python overhyped (just like Java)?

David Abrahams dave at
Tue Apr 1 02:31:58 CEST 2003

"Delaney, Timothy C (Timothy)" <tdelaney at> writes:

>> From: David Abrahams [mailto:dave at]
>> Also, it's only fair to point out that C++ doesn't have one library
>> implementation -- each compiler comes with its own.  Which
>> implementation(s) were you testing?  Oh, I see it was probably
>> libstdc++ that comes with gcc 3.1.  Well, IIRC GCC-3.1 was well
>> known to optimize poorly (it took them some time to figure out how
>> to integrate all the new optimizations that came in with GCC-3, and
>> they actually made things slower for a while), and I wouldn't
>> exactly say that libstdc++ is the fastest implementation.
> I think if you'll read the above, you will notice that Alex says
> exactly the same thing "...with different implementations, you may see
> different ratios."

Quite right; I do see that.

> Also, "read all the lines from a file" is not a primitive in Python -
> it's a method call ... *and* it is written in C. 

That's what I mean by "a primitive".  All of Python is written in C,
so that's as primitive as things get.  "Read all the lines from a
file" can be specifically optimized for Python, whereas when you write
the "obvious" code for it in C++, you're probably seeing overheads
which reflect, e.g., buffering which makes sense for general-purpose
I/O but which is a waste when reading all lines from a file.

> Obviously there could be as good an implementation in C++ on the
> same platform - whether there could be a *better* implementation is
> another question.

And another question is whether there could be a better
implementation *for that particular job*.

Dave Abrahams
Boost Consulting

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