Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Is the python community unable to see it's own weaknesses?

Over a week and a half ago, I posted a proposal on the Python mailing list/newsgroup. If you've seen my previous blog entry you already know what it was about. For the others, it is a proposal to remedy one of python's weaknesses : native extensions must be compiled for a specific Python version using the same compiler used to compile that python version. I've seen over time many people call this a nightmare, especially on windows.

Fast-forward one week, and I haven't had a single response. Not one! People on the mailing list wax poetic on trivial issues such as being more polite toward Perl.

Is this a case of blindness? Are extension writers so comfortable with this situation that they don't care? I mean I don't expect my proposal to be accepted as is, but I was hoping it would at least spark a discussion.

I will assume the answer is different, and that it is a simple case of bad timing. I will prepare a shorter, easier to digest proposal and post it again. Then we'll see.

In the meantime .. Feel free to tell me how receptive the python community at large has been to your ideas so far.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see it as a problem. With ctypes in the base distro as of python 2.5 it might be less of an issue. The python community has gotten into a weird feedback loop of blather talk and not much action.

PyPy and ctypes will make this moot?

3:10 PM  
Blogger Steve Menard said...

I don't know enough about PyPy to say, but my understanding of ctypes is that building a extension with it will definitely be slower than building a regular extension.

Unless I am mistaken, dynamically building those native calls can only be slower than regular method calls.

9:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Python is pretty much a failed experiment.

4:50 AM  
Blogger Steve Menard said...

I think this is a very harsh statement. Python itself is a very nice language. The python community, while not perfect, is certainly more approachable to many other communities I've had to interact with in the past.

1:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

official py25 for windows is compiled by Vc7, but we can build the extension in mingw or something else. Search the net you will find how to (http://boodebr.org/main/python/build-windows-extensions).

however the extension relies on the pythons version, that is really a big problem. ctypes saves us in a little(there is a comparision at http://www.dalkescientific.com/writings/NBN/c_extensions.html). I have programmed some interfaces in ctypes becasue I don't like to install 2 versions for my py24 and py25. They works fine.

But if you or somebody can make http://jpype.sourceforge.net/pni.html work, that will be great. If so, I believe we have the chance to merge it into python.

As for the python community, I think GvR is a too dictatorial:the os.path.walk is hard to remember/use and there are some proposal to give a simple interface, but he refused; he want to change 'print" to function in order to make python moe C-like and make the KBD manufactory happy.

7:29 AM  
Blogger Steve Menard said...

The PNI idea is still floating in my mind. The advent of P3K would certainly be a good opportunity, since pretty much all native extensions will need some level of rewrite.

I'll probably take the P3K sources and try to implement PNI on it myself, see where it goes. Once I have a working implementation, I'll try once again to see if there is any interest.

4:10 PM  

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