Python and the need for speed

Rick Johnson rantingrickjohnson at
Tue Apr 11 19:31:16 EDT 2017

On Tuesday, April 11, 2017 at 9:56:45 AM UTC-5, Steve D'Aprano wrote:
> On Tue, 11 Apr 2017 07:56 pm, Brecht Machiels wrote:
> > On 2017-04-11 08:19:31 +0000, Steven D'Aprano said:
> >
> > I understand that high performance was never a goal in
> > CPython development (and Python language design!), but
> > recent events (DropBox, Google) might help to reconsider
> > that standpoint.
> *shrug*  It isn't as if high-performance is a requirement
> for all code.

But given the choice, no prospective "language shopper" is
going to choose the slower language over a faster language
-- at least not from a pool of similar languages with
similar features (no comparing Python to C, please!). So
even if you don't need the speed _today_, you may need it
_tomorrow_. And once you've written a few hundred thousand
lines of code, well, you're committed to the language you
chose yesterday.

> And it isn't as if Python is in any serious risk of losing
> popularity.  No language can expect to be popular forever.
> Eventually Python will be as obsolete as or niche as COBOL,
> Tcl or ABC. But that day is not now.

But considering (as you pointed out) that Python is 20 years
old now, and has also recently suffered a major community
fracturing with the release of Py3000, that day is getting
ever closer. I don't see how Python can survive when a small
core of language devs consistently ignore the wider community.

> >
> > Here's a wild idea: consider Python 3 feature-complete.
> I think that will conflict with the many, many people who
> want Python to have more features, and care more about them
> than speed.

Python-ideas and Python-dev do not represent the majority of
the Python community. They are out there, right now, writing
code and solving problems. But when Python fails to aid in
this endeavor, they will not come here to complain, no, they
will search for a new language. In other words: they will
vote with their feet.

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