Dropbox pulls the plug on faster Python project

Pyston, Dropbox’s project to create a faster Python runtime similar to just-in-time compiling systems like PyPy, will no longer be sponsored by Dropbox after its latest release. Version 0.6.1 brings Pyston’s performance up to almost twice that of CPython, the standard-issue Python interpreter. “On web-workload benchmarks that we created, we are 48% faster,” wrote Dropbox’s Kevin Modzelewski on the Pyston blog. “On Dropboxs server, we are 10% faster.” Despite these improvements, Dropbox decided further work on Pyston wouldn’t be worth it from a cost-benefit point of view. Compatibility was one of the biggest stumbling blocks. The blog post noted that it took “more time than we expected” to make Pyston compatible with existing Python code. For context, PyPy has achieved a high level of compatibility with existing Python code, but only after years of work, and C extensions for Python — a major part of the Python ecosystem — were a major obstacle. Pyston also lacked Python 3 compatibility; PyPy provides it, but only through a different edition of the program that supports up to Python 3.3. Dropbox also said it’s moving away from using Python for performance-sensitive code in the first place, opting for “other languages such as Go” instead.

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