embedding: forcing an interpreter to end

Peter Hansen peter at engcorp.com
Mon Dec 27 18:17:42 CET 2004

dan charnitsky wrote:
> I wish (hope)
> Python will move in that direction along with scaling
> down more easily for embedded use.

That won't happen if you just wait for the existing
development team to do it (nor even if you ask them,
I suspect), as this is likely of little interest to
any of them.  Only by folks -- perhaps like you --
contributing will you ever see happen.

> Have you been able to cross compile Python and port it
> to ucLinux (or a smaller OS)?  I'd hate to just give
> up on Python.  Do you know if there are an embedded
> Python SIGs?

Various people have made Python run on smaller machines.
There is Pippy, though most consider it an interesting but
failed attempt to make Python run on the Palm.  (It runs
a stripped-down Python 1.5.2 but has no real interface
to the OS, so it's basically just the interpreter prompt.)

There are also people who've made Python run on various
embedded forms of Linux.  In all cases of which I'm aware,
this was done merely by taking the standard source and
compiling it, possibly along with a little size-reduction
such as by stripping out the doc-comments from the C
source.  Python is quite portable, but not designed for
use on machines with very little memory.  (I believe
512KB is a rough lower limit to what's practical, but of
course it would depend on what you wanted to do with it.
IMHO, by the time you crammed Python into a smaller space,
you'd have spent far more time than if you'd just used
Lua instead.)

And I don't believe there is an "embedded SIG" or if
there is, it relates to the "extending and embedding"
features of Python, and not to "embedded systems".

Sorry, but Python on really small hardware is just not
something that is straightforward, widely done, and
practical.  That doesn't mean you couldn't help make
it so, but nobody else has done all the work for you


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