What python can NOT do?

Steven D'Aprano steven at REMOVE.THIS.cybersource.com.au
Tue Sep 8 04:49:28 CEST 2009

On Tue, 08 Sep 2009 00:09:26 +0000, Albert van der Horst wrote:

>>Existing Python implementations don't give you direct access to
>>hardware, and bit-manipulation has a lot of overhead in Python.
> Surely you don't mean that
>    0x17 & 0xAD
> has more overhead than
>    17 + 123
> So what do you mean here?

What I mean is that bit-manipulation in low-level languages like C is 
very close to the metal, and hence very efficient. In Python, *all* 
operations (including bit-manipulation and arithmetic) has the overhead 
of the Python virtual machine. You won't notice the difference if you're 
just ANDing a handful of numbers, but if you're doing millions of them 
(say, you're doing industrial-strength encryption) you certainly will.


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