[Python-Dev] Making python C-API thread safe (try 2)

Skip Montanaro skip at pobox.com
Fri Sep 12 21:57:03 CEST 2003

    Mitch> At IPC8 Greg Wilson, then of the Software Carpentry project,
    Mitch> noted that the GIL made it hard to write multi-threaded Python
    Mitch> apps which could take advantage of multi-processor systems.  He
    Mitch> argued that this would limit Python's appeal in some segments of
    Mitch> the scientific community.

This is a known issue.  Thusfar, it hasn't seemed to slow down Python's
acceptance by the scientific community all that much.  Look at Scientific
Python, Numeric (and Numarray), as well as work in bioinformatics, 3D
graphics, etc.  I think the availability of high-quality tools is just as
important in the scientific community as elsewhere.

    Mitch> Perhaps those who find the subject important have left the
    Mitch> community?  Perhaps they've adopted kludgey workarounds?

Or perhaps they are happy to have tools like scipy and MayaVi to make their
jobs easier.

    Mitch> In my company the GIL has meant that some performance problems,
    Mitch> which could most easily be addressed by multiple threads sharing
    Mitch> access to large collections of Python objects, have been
    Mitch> deferred.

Nobody has claimed that it isn't a problem for some people.  It's maybe less
of a problem than it appears at first though.


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