Tuesday, December 10, 2013

NumPy Status Update - November

Since the PyPy 2.2 release last month, more progress has been made on the NumPy compatibility front. Initial work has been directed by running the NumPy test suite and targeting failures that appear most frequently, along with fixing the few bugs reported on the bug tracker.

Improvements were made in these areas:
- Many missing/broken scalar functionalities were added/fixed. The scalar API should match up more closely with arrays now.
- Some missing dtype functionality was added (newbyteorder, hasobject, descr, etc)
- Support for optional arguments (axis, order) was added to some ndarray functions
- Fixed some corner cases for string/record types

Most of these improvements went onto trunk after 2.2 was split, so if you're interested in trying them out or running into problems on 2.2, try the nightly.

Thanks again to the NumPy on PyPy donors who make this continued progress possible.


Monday, December 9, 2013


One of the RaspberryPi's goals is to be a fun toolkit for school children (and adults!) to learn programming and electronics with. Python and pygame are part of this toolkit. Recently the RaspberryPi Foundation funded parts of the effort of porting of pypy to the Pi -- making Python programs on the Pi faster!

Unfortunately pygame is written as a Python C extension that wraps SDL which means performance of pygame under pypy remains mediocre. To fix this pygame needs to be rewritten using cffi to wrap SDL instead.

RaspberryPi sponsored a CTPUG (Cape Town Python User Group) hackathon to put together a proof-of-concept pygame-cffi. The day was quite successful - we got a basic version of the bub'n'bros client working on pygame-cffi (and on PyPy). The results can be found on github with contributions from the five people present at the sprint.

While far from complete, the proof of concept does show that there are no major obstacles to porting pygame to cffi and that cffi is a great way to bind your Python package to C libraries.

Amazingly, we managed to have machines running all three major platforms (OS X, Linux and Windows) at the hackathon so the code runs on all of them!

We would like to thank the Praekelt foundation for providing the venue and The Raspberry Pi foundation for providing food and drinks!

Simon Cross, Jeremy Thurgood, Neil Muller, David Sharpe and fijal.