11 November 2012

Nuitka Release 0.3.25

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

This release brings about changes on all fronts, bug fixes, new features. Also very importantly Nuitka no longer uses C++11 for its code, but mere C++03. There is new re-formulation work, and re-factoring of functions.

But the most important part is this: Mercurial unit tests are working. Nearly. With the usual disclaimer of me being wrong, all remaining errors are errors of the test, or minor things. Hope is that these unit tests can be added as release tests to Nuitka. And once that is done, the next big Python application can come.

Bug Fixes

  • Local variables were released when an exception was raised that escaped the local function. They should only be released, after another exception was raised somewhere.

  • Identifiers of nested tuples and lists could collide.

    a = ((1, 2), 3)
    b = ((1,), 2, 3)

    Both tuples had the same name previously, not the end of the tuple is marked too. Fixed in already.

  • The __name__ when used read-only in modules in packages was optimized to a string value that didn’t contain the package name.

  • Exceptions set when entering compiled functions were unset at function exit.

New Features

  • Compiled frames support. Before, Nuitka was creating frames with the standard CPython C/API functions, and tried its best to cache them. This involved some difficulties, but as it turns out, it is actually possible to instead provide a compatible type of our own, that we have full control over.

    This will become the base of enhanced compatibility. Keeping references to local variables attached to exception tracebacks is something we may be able to solve now.

  • Enhanced Python3 support, added support for nonlocal declarations and many small corrections for it.

  • Writable __defaults__ attribute for compiled functions, actually changes the default value used at call time. Not supported is changing the amount of default parameters.


  • Keep the functions along with the module and added “FunctionRef” node kind to point to them.

  • Reformulated or and and operators with the conditional expression construct which makes the “short-circuit” branch.

  • Access self in methods from the compiled function object instead of pointer to context object, making it possible to access the function object.

  • Removed “OverflowCheck” module and its usage, avoids one useless scan per function to determine the need for “locals dictionary”.

  • Make “compileTree” of “MainControl” module to only do what the name says and moved the rest out, making the top level control clearer.

  • Don’t export module entry points when building executable and not modules. These exports cause MinGW and MSVC compilers to create export libraries.


  • More efficient code for conditional expressions in conditions:

    if a if b else c:

    See above, this code is now the typical pattern for each or and and, so this was much needed now.


  • The remaining uses of C++11 have been removed. Code generated with Nuitka and complementary C++ code now compile with standard C++03 compilers. This lowers the Nuitka requirements and enables at least g++ 4.4 to work with Nuitka.

  • The usages of the GNU extension operation a ?: b have replaced with standard C++ constructs. This is needed to support MSVC which doesn’t have this.

  • Added examples for the typical use cases to the User Manual.

  • The “compare_with_cpython” script has gained an option to immediately remove the Nuitka outputs (build directory and binary) if successful. Also the temporary files are now put under “/var/tmp” if available.

  • Debian package improvements, registering with doc-base the User Manual so it is easier to discover. Also suggest mingw32 package which provides the cross compiler to Windows.

  • Partial support for MSVC (Visual Studio 2008 to be exact, the version that works with CPython2.6 and CPython2.7).

    All basic tests that do not use generators are working now, but those will currently cause crashes.

  • Renamed the --g++-only option to --c++-only.

    The old name is no longer correct after clang and MSVC have gained support, and it could be misunderstood to influence compiler selection, rather than causing the C++ source code to not be updated, so manual changes will the used.

  • Catch exceptions for continue, break, and return only where needed for try/finally and loop constructs.

New Tests

  • Added CPython3.2 test suite as “tests/CPython32” from 3.2.3 and run it with CPython2.7 to check that Nuitka gives compatible error messages. It is not expected to pass yet on Python3.2, but work will be done towards this goal.

  • Make CPython2.7 test suite runner also execute the generated “doctest” modules.

  • Enabled tests for default parameters and their reference counts.


This release marks an important point. The compiled frames are exciting new technology, that will allow even better integration with CPython, while improving speed. Lowering the requirements to C++03 means, we will become usable on Android and with MSVC, which will make adoption of Nuitka on Windows easier for many.

Structurally the outstanding part is the function as references cleanup. This was a blocker for value propagation, because now functions references can be copied, whereas previously this was duplicating the whole function body, which didn’t work, and wasn’t acceptable. Now, work can resume in this domain.

Also very exciting when it comes to optimization is the remove of special code for or and and operators, as these are now only mere conditional expressions. Again, this will make value propagation easier with two special cases less.

And then of course, with Mercurial unit tests running compiled with Nuitka, an important milestone has been hit.

For a while now, the focus will be on completing Python3 support, XML based optimization regression tests, benchmarks, and other open ends. Once that is done, and more certainty about Mercurial tests support, I may call it a 0.4 and start with local type inference for actual speed gains.