Python and the need for speed

alister alister.ware at
Wed Apr 12 05:30:05 EDT 2017

On Tue, 11 Apr 2017 16:31:16 -0700, Rick Johnson wrote:

> 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.

but cost is also a factor , not just cost of the tools but cost in time 
writing & debugging he software the write.

if they can produce a finished product in half the time with a "slower" 
language the speed may not be important (especially when the application 
is IO bound & spends 90% of its time idling anyway).

if this were not the case then we would all be writing Assembler

>> 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.

I realize that command does have its fascination, even under
circumstances such as these, but I neither enjoy the idea of command
nor am I frightened of it.  It simply exists, and I will do whatever
logically needs to be done.
		-- Spock, "The Galileo Seven", stardate 2812.7

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