Python's Performance

Alex Stapleton alexs at
Fri Oct 14 16:29:56 CEST 2005

On 12 Oct 2005, at 09:33, bruno modulix wrote:

> Donn Cave wrote:
>> Quoth "Fredrik Lundh" <fredrik at>:
>> | Alex Stapleton wrote
>> |
>> | > Except it is interpreted.
>> |
>> | except that it isn't.  Python source code is compiled to byte  
>> code, which
>> | is then executed by a virtual machine.  if the byte code for a  
>> module is up
>> | to date, the Python runtime doesn't even look at the source code.
>> Fair to say that byte code is interpreted?  Seems to require an
>> application we commonly call an interpreter.
> If so, Java is interpreted too. The only difference between Java and
> Python here is that Python is smart enough to call the compiler by  
> itself.

All languages are interpreted by something. Even x86 is interpreted  
by the CPU. This has been said already.
Python and Java are both as distant from the machines native  
language, unless your using a cunning VM which does native code  

BASIC is in fact, lower level than Python or Java because it's VM  
interprets the actual source code, rather than translating it to  
"bytecode" first, and then interpreting that.

You can see that the entire, interpreted vs compiled debate is  
utterly meaningless and that only implementation specific details  
actually matter. e.g. Java is native if you compile it with GCJ. x86  
is interpreted if you run it under a VM like VirtualPC.

Technical terminology generally fails to actually describing anything  
accurately for very long.

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