Pyston 2.2 Goes Open Source Again
Written by Kay Ewbank   
Friday, 21 May 2021

Pyston v2.2, the latest version of the high-performance Python implementation originally developed by cloud storage provider Dropbox, has been taken back to an open source model.

Pyston was open source until version 2.0, at which point it was converted to a closed source model. The developers have now decided to go back to open source with support services.

pyston

Alongside the move back to open source, the new version has many changes merged from CPython, and is now based on CPython 3.8.8.

In terms of performance, the developers say Pyston v2.2 is 30% faster than stock Python on their web server benchmarks. The team says this is a significant improvement over their previous performance.

The benchmarks were created for Pyston 2.2, and are available as a public Python macrobenchmark suite that measures the performance of several commonly-used Python projects. The benchmarks in this suite are larger than those found in other Python suites, which the Pyston team says makes them more likely to be representative of real-world applications:

"Even though this gives us a lower headline number than other projects, we believe it translates to better speedups for real use cases. Pyston v2 still shows sped-up performance on microbenchmarks, being twice as fast as standard Python on tests like chaos.py and nbody.py."

The improvement in performance for version 2.2 has been achieved by tuning and optimizing the underlying code, alongside making use of additional speedups in the JIT and attribute cache mechanisms.

One way the improvements have been achieved is by removing many of the rarely-used debugging features that Python supports because they are expensive even when not needed. Doing so collectively resulted in a 2% speedup, which the developers say was remarkable to them:

"of all the computers in the world running Python, 2% of them are executing debugging checks. We’ve disabled those checks and are positioning ourselves as an “optimized build” similar to binaries without debugging information."

Those who still want debugging features can use the “debug build” of stock Python because they are interchangeable.

The team says they're continuing to try and make Pyston as compelling and easy to use as possible. Working Pyston into your projects should be as easy as replacing “python” with “pyston”, and if that's not the case the team wants to hear about it.

Pyston is available on GitHub.

 pyston

More Information

Pyston on GitHub

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Last Updated ( Friday, 21 May 2021 )