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[Python-Dev] C API changes

Armin Rigo schrieb am 26.11.18 um 06:37:
> On Sun, 25 Nov 2018 at 10:15, Stefan Behnel wrote:
>> Overall, this seems like something that PyPy could try out as an
>> experiment, by just taking a simple extension module and replacing all
>> increfs with newref assignments. And obviously implementing the whole thing
>> for the C-API
> Just to be clear, I suggested making a new API, not just tweaking
> Py_INCREF() and hoping that all the rest works as it is.  I'm
> skeptical about that.

Oh, I'm not skeptical at all. I'm actually sure that it's not that easy. I
would guess that such an automatic transformation should work in something
like 70% of the cases. Another 25% should be trivial to fix manually, and
the remaining 5% ? well. They can probably still be changed with some
thinking and refactoring. That also involves cases where pointer equality
is used to detect object identity. Having a macro for that might be a good

Overall, relatively easy. And therefore not unlikely to happen. The lower
the bar, the more likely we will see adoption.

Also note that explicit Py_INCREF() calls are actually not that common. I
just checked and found only 465 calls in 124K lines of Cython generated C
code for Cython itself, and 725 calls in 348K C lines of lxml. Not exactly
a snap, but definitely not huge. All other objects originate from the C-API
in one way or another, which you control.

> To start with, a ``Py_NEWREF()`` like you describe *will* lead people
> just renaming all ``Py_INCREF()`` to ``Py_NEWREF()`` ignoring the
> return value, because that's the easiest change and it would work fine
> on CPython.

First of all, as long as Py_INCREF() is not going away, they probably won't
change anything. Therefore, before we discuss how laziness will hinder the
adoption, I would rather like to see an actual motivation for them to do
it. And since this change seems to have zero advantages in CPython, but
adds a tiny bit of complexity, I think it's now up to PyPy to show that
this added complexity has an advantage that is large enough to motivates
it. If you could come up with a prototype that demonstrates the advantage
(or at least uncovers the problems we'd face), we could actually discuss
about real solutions rather than uncertain ideas.