Python's biggest compromises

Michael Hudson mwh at
Fri Aug 1 13:40:05 CEST 2003

hanzspam at (Hannu Kankaanpää) writes:

> Worst of both indeed. Maybe the decision to choose reference
> counting was driven by speed considerations. 

Ease of implementation, portability and playing nicely with C
extensions are more likely candidates, IMO.

> That might've been reasonable back in early 90's, but GC techniques
> have evolved from those days and so GC would be a superior technique
> now.

<button nature="hot">
Reference counting *is* a form of garbage collection.

Saying "Ref. counting sucks, let's use GC instead" is a statement near
as dammit to meaningless.

Given the desires above, I really cannot think of a clearly better GC
strategy for Python that the one currently employed.  AFAICS, the
current scheme's biggest drawback is its memory overhead, followed by
the cache-trashing tendencies of decrefs.

What would you use instead?


  After a heavy night I travelled on, my face toward home - the comma
  being by no means guaranteed.           -- paraphrased from cam.misc

More information about the Python-list mailing list