29 March 2013

Nuitka Release 0.4.2

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

This release comes with many bug fixes, some of which are severe. It also contains new features, like basic Python 3.3 support. And the performance diagrams got expanded.

New Features

  • Support for FreeBSD.

    Nuitka works for at least FreeBSD 9.1, older versions may or may not work. This required only fixing some “Linuxisms” in the build process.

  • New option for warning about compile time detected exception raises.

    Nuitka can now warn about exceptions that will be raised at run time.

  • Basic Python3.3 support.

    The test suite of CPython3.2 passes and fails in a compatible way. New feature yield from is not yet supported, and the improved argument parsing error messages are not implemented yet.

Bug Fixes

  • Nuitka already supported compilation of “main directories”, i.e. directories with a “__main__.py” file inside. The resulting binary name was “__main__.exe” though, but now it is “directory.exe”

    # ls directory
    # nuitka --exe directory
    # ls
    directory directory.exe

    This makes this usage more obvious, and fixes an older issue for this feature.

  • Evaluation order of binary operators was not enforced.

    Nuitka already enforces evaluation order for just about everything. But not for binary operators it seems.

  • Providing an # coding: no-exist was crashing under Python2, and ignored under Python3, now it does the compatible thing for both.

  • Global statements on the compiler level are legal in Python, and were not handled by Nuitka, they now are.

    global a  # Not in a function, but on module level. Pointless but legal!
    a = 1

    Effectively these statements can be ignored.

  • Future imports are only legal when they are at the start of the file.

    This was not enforced by Nuitka, making it accept code, which CPython would reject. It now properly raises a syntax error.

  • Raising exceptions from context was leaking references.

    raise ValueError() from None

    Under CPython3.2 the above is not allowed (it is acceptable starting CPython3.3), and was also leaking references to its arguments.

  • Importing the module that became __main__ through the module name, didn’t recurse to it.

    This also gives a warning. PyBench does it, and then stumbles over the non-found “pybench” module. Of course, programmers should use sys.modules[ "__main__" ] to access main module code. Not only because the duplicated modules don’t share data.

  • Compiled method repr leaked references when printed.

    When printing them, they would not be freed, and subsequently hold references to the object (and class) they belong to. This could trigger bugs for code that expects __del__ to run at some point.

  • The super built-in leaked references to given object.

    This was added, because Python3 needs it. It supplies the arguments to super automatically, whereas for Python2 the programmer had to do it. And now it turns out that the object lost a reference, causing similar issues as above, preventing __del__ to run.

  • The raise statement didn’t enforce type of third argument.

    This Python2-only form of exception raising now checks the type of the third argument before using it. Plus, when it’s None (which is also legal), no reference to None is leaked.

  • Python3 built-in exceptions were strings instead of exceptions.

    A gross mistake that went uncaught by test suites. I wonder how. Them being strings doesn’t help their usage of course, fixed.

  • The -nan and nan both exist and make a difference.

    A older story continued. There is a sign to nan, which can be copied away and should be present. This is now also supported by Nuitka.

  • Wrong optimization of a == a, a != a, a <= a on C++ level.

    While it’s not done during Nuitka optimization, the rich comparison helpers still contained short cuts for ==, !=, and <=.

  • The sys.executable for nuitka-python --python-version 3.2 was still python.

    When determining the value for sys.executable the CPython library code looks at the name exec had received. It was python in all cases, but now it depends on the running version, so it propagates.

  • Keyword only functions with default values were losing references to defaults.

    def f(*, a=X()):
    f()  # Can crash, X() should already be released.

    This is now corrected. Of course, a Python3 only issue.

  • Pressing CTRL-C didn’t generate KeyboardInterrupt in compiled code.

    Nuitka never executes “pending calls”. It now does, with the upside, that the solution used, appears to be suitable for threading in Nuitka too. Expect more to come out of this.

  • For with statements with return, break, or continue to leave their body, the __exit__ was not called.

    with a:  # This called a.__enter__().
        return 2  # This didn't call a.__exit__(None, None, None).

    This is of course quite huge, and unfortunately wasn’t covered by any test suite so far. Turns out, the re-formulation of with statements, was wrongly using try/except/else, but these ignore the problematic statements. Only try/finally does. The enhanced re-formulation now does the correct thing.

  • Starting with Python3, absolute imports are now the default.

    This was already present for Python3.3, and it turns out that all of Python3 does it.


  • Constants are now much less often created with pickle module, but created directly.

    This esp. applies for nested constants, now more values become is identical instead of only == identical, which indicates a reduced memory usage.

    a = ("something_special",)
    b = "something_special"
    assert a[0] is b  # Now true

    This is not only about memory efficiency, but also about performance. Less memory usage is more cache friendly, and the “==” operator will be able to shortcut dramatically in cases of identical objects.

    Constants now created without pickle usage, cover float, list, and dict, which is enough for PyStone to not use it at all, which has been added support for as well.

  • Continue statements might be optimized away.

    A terminal continue in a loop, was not optimized away:

    while 1:
        continue  # Now optimized away

    The trailing continue has no effect and can therefore be removed.

    while 1:
  • Loops with only break statements are optimized away.

    while 1:

    A loop immediately broken has of course no effect. Loop conditions are re-formulated to immediate “if … : break” checks. Effectively this means that loops with conditions detected to be always false to see the loop entirely removed.

New Tests

  • Added tests for the found issues.

  • Running the programs test suite (i.e. recursion) for Python3.2 and Python3.2 as well, after making adaptation so that the absolute import changes are now covered.

  • Running the “CPython3.2” test suite with Python3.3 based Nuitka works and found a few minor issues.


  • The Downloads page now offers RPMs for RHEL6, CentOS6, F17, F18, and openSUSE 12.1, 12.2, 12.3. This large coverage is thanks to openSUSE build service and “ownssh” for contributing an RPM spec file.

    The page got improved with logos for the distributions.

  • Added “ownssh” as contributor.

  • Revamped the User Manual in terms of layout, structure, and content.


This release is the result of much validation work. The amount of fixes the largest of any release so far. New platforms, basic Python3.3 support, consolidation all around.