is None or == None ?

Terry Reedy tjreedy at
Sun Nov 8 20:45:31 CET 2009

Alf P. Steinbach wrote:
> * Hrvoje Niksic:
>> "Alf P. Steinbach" <alfps at> writes:
>>> * Hrvoje Niksic:
>>>> "Alf P. Steinbach" <alfps at> writes:
>>>>> Speedup would likely be more realistic with normal implementation (not
>>>>> fiddling with bit-fields and stuff)
>>>> I'm not sure I understand this.  How would you implement tagged 
>>>> integers
>>>> without encoding type information in bits of the pointer value?
>>> A normal tag field, as illustrated in code earlier in the thread.
>> Ah, I see it now.  That proposal effectively doubles the size of what is
>> now a PyObject *, meaning that lists, dicts, etc., would also double
>> their memory requirements, so it doesn't come without downsides.
> Whether it increases memory usage depends on the data mix in the 
> program's execution.
> For a program primarily handling objects of atomic types (like int) it 
> saves memory, since each value (generally) avoids a dynamically 
> allocated object.
> Bit-field fiddling may save a little more memory, and is nearly 
> guaranteed to save memory.
> But memory usage isn't an issue except to the degree it affects the OS's 
> virtual memory manager.
> Slowness is an issue  --  except that keeping compatibility is IMO a 
> more important issue (don't fix, at cost, what works).

I believe the use of tagged pointers has been considered and so far 
rejected by the CPython developers. And no one else that I know of has 
developed a fork for that. It would seem more feasible with 64 bit 
pointers where there seem to be spare bits. But CPython will have to 
support 32 bit machines for several years.

Terry Jan Reedy

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