24 October 2011

Nuitka Release 0.3.12

This is to inform you about the new stable release of Nuitka. It is the extremely compatible Python compiler, “download now”.

This is to inform you about the new release of Nuitka many bug fixes, and substantial improvements especially in the organizational area. There is a new User Manual (PDF), with much improved content, a sys.meta_path based import mechanism for --deep mode, git flow goodness.

This release is generally also the result of working towards compilation of a real programs (Mercurial) and to get things work more nicely on Windows by default. Thanks go to Liu Zhenhai for helping me with this goal.

Due to the use of the “git flow”, most of the bugs listed here were already fixed in on the stable release before this release. And there were many of these.

Bug Fixes

  • The order of evaluation for base classes and class dictionaries was not enforced.

    Apparently nothing in the CPython test suite did that, I only noticed during debugging that Nuitka gave a different error than CPython did, for a class that had an undefined base class, because both class body and base classes were giving an error. Fixed in 0.3.11a already.

  • Method objects didn’t hold a reference to the used class.

    The effect was only noticed when --python-debug was used, i.e. the debug version of Python linked, because then the garbage collector makes searches. Fixed in 0.3.11b already.

  • Set sys.executable on Linux as well. On Debian it is otherwise /usr/bin/python which might be a different version of Python entirely. Fixed in 0.3.11c already.

  • Embedded modules inside a package could hide package variables of the same name. Learned during PyCON DE about this corner case. Fixed in 0.3.11d already.

  • Packages could be duplicated internally. This had no effect on generated code other than appearing twice in the list if frozen modules. Fixed in 0.3.11d already.

  • When embedding modules from outside current directory, the look-up failed. The embedding only ever worked for the compile itself and programs test cases, because they are all in the current directory then. Fixed in 0.3.11e already.

  • The check for ARM target broke Windows support in the Scons file. Fixed in 0.3.11f already.

  • The star import from external modules failed with an error in --deep mode. Fixed in 0.3.11g already.

  • Modules with a parent package could cause a problem under some circumstances. Fixed in 0.3.11h already.

  • One call variant, with both list and dict star arguments and keyword arguments, but no positional parameters, didn’t have the required C++ helper function implemented. Fixed in 0.3.11h already.

  • The detection of the CPU core count was broken on my hexacore at least. Gave 36 instead of 6, which is a problem for large programs. Fixed in 0.3.11h already.

  • The in-line copy of Scons didn’t really work on Windows, which was sad, because we added it to simplify installation on Windows precisely because of this.

  • Cleaning up the build directory from old sources and object files wasn’t portable to Windows and therefore wasn’t effective there.

  • From imports where part of the imported were found modules and parts were not, didn’t work. Solved by the feature branch meta_path_import that was merged for this release.

  • Newer MinGW gave warnings about the default visibility not being possible to apply to class members. Fixed by not setting this default visibility anymore on Windows.

  • The sys.executable gave warnings on Windows because of backslashes in the path. Using a raw string to prevent such problems.

  • The standard library path was hard coded. Changed to run time detection.


  • Version checks on Python runtime now use a new define PYTHON_VERSION that makes it easier. I don’t like PY_VERSION_HEX, because it is so unreadable. Makes some of the checks a lot more safe.

  • The sys.meta_path based import from the meta_path_import feature branch allowed the cleanup the way importing is done. It’s a lot less code now.

  • Removed some unused code. We will aim at making Nuitka the tool to detect dead code really.

  • Moved nuitka.Nodes to nuitka.nodes.Nodes, that is what the package is intended for, the split will come later.

New Tests

  • New tests for import variants that previously didn’t work: Mixed imports. Imports from a package one level up. Modules hidden by a package variable, etc.

  • Added test of function call variant that had no test previously. Only found it when compiling “hg”. Amazing how nothing in my tests, CPython tests, etc. used it.

  • Added test to cover the partial success of import statements.

  • Added test to cover evaluation order of class definitions.


  • Migrated the “README.txt” from org-mode to ReStructured Text, which allows for a more readable document, and to generate a nice User Manual in PDF form.

  • The amount of information in “README.txt” was increased, with many more subjects are now covered, e.g. “git flow” and how to join Nuitka development. It’s also impressive to see what code blocks and syntax highlighting can do for readability.

  • The Nuitka git repository has seen multiple hot fixes.

    These allowed to publish bug fixes immediately after they were made, and avoided the need for a new release just to get these out. This really saves me a lot of time too, because I can postpone releasing the new version until it makes sense because of other things.

  • Then there was a feature branch meta_path_import that lived until being merged to develop to improve the import code, which is now released as part of the main branch. Getting that feature right took a while.

  • And there is the feature branch minimize_CPython26_tests_diff which has some success already in documenting the required changes to the “CPython26” test suite and in reducing the amount of differences, while doing it. We have a frame stack working there, albeit in too ugly code form.

  • The release archives are now built using setuptools. You can now also download a zip file, which is probably more Windows friendly. The intention is to work on that to make setup.py produce a Nuitka install that won’t rely on any environment variables at all. Right now setup.py won’t even allow any other options than sdist to be given.

  • Ported “compile_itself.sh” to “compile_itself.py”, i.e. ported it to Python. This way, we can execute it easily on Windows too, where it currently still fails. Replacing diff, rm -rf, etc. is a challenge, but it reduces the dependency on MSYS tools on Windows.

  • The compilation of standard library is disabled by default, but site or dist packages are now embedded. To include even standard library, there is a --really-deep option that has to be given in addition to --deep, which forces this.


Again, huge progress. The improved import mechanism is very beautiful. It appears that little is missing to compile real world programs like “hg” with Nuitka. The next release cycle will focus on that and continue to improve the Windows support which appears to have some issues.