Is Python a commercial proposition ?

Steven D'Aprano steve+comp.lang.python at
Tue Jul 31 08:29:34 CEST 2012

On Mon, 30 Jul 2012 21:45:51 -0700, Paul Rubin wrote:

> Steven D'Aprano <steve+comp.lang.python at> writes:
>> And at that level, you aren't going to write your app in Python anyway,
>> and not because of the GIL. (These microcontrollers are unlikely to
>> have multiple cores -- why the hell does your microwave oven need two
>> cores?)
> ;-)
>> It seems to me that those who claim that the GIL is a serious barrier
>> to Python's use in the enterprise are mostly cargo-cult programmers,
> I would say, it puts a crimp into Python's versatility but there are
> still lots of areas where it's not a serious issue.

Of course it's a crimp. Nobody likes the GIL for its own sake, and nobody 
likes the fact that it does slow CPython down under some circumstances. 
It's not like the Python devs scheme behind closed doors on how to make 
Python slower. If somebody came up with a way to remove the GIL without 
the harmful side-effects, or volunteered to do the enormous amount of 
work needed, the devs would be as enthusiastic for it as anyone else.

Recognising that there are *some* applications where Python isn't 
suitable (for whatever reason, not just because of the GIL) is simply 
common sense. There are a whole lot of factors leading to the choice of a 
compiler. "Can use all available cores on a CPU" is only one of many.

But to hear some people talk, CPU-bound multi-threaded apps are the only 
"serious" enterprise apps, and further more, there is no possible way to 
make a program fast enough *except* threads, hence no possible way that 
Python is suitable except by removing the GIL.

Do they consider that perhaps there are alternatives to threads? Or that 
there already are Python implementations that don't include the GIL, 
running on big enterprise-friendly platforms like Java and .NET? No they 
do not. If Python didn't have the GIL, they'd find some other excuse to 
dismiss it for "serious" work.

And that is why I consider that anyone repeating without nuance the 
canard that the GIL makes Python unsuitable for serious enterprise work 
is a cargo-cultist.

And now I have to go yell at some kids who are on my lawn.


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