Nuitka this week #14

This is a weekly update, or at least it’s supposed to be of what’s going on in Nuitka land, for you to learn about ongoing developments and important changes to the project.

Communication vs. Coding

After GSoC 2019, it seems I dropped off with communication about Nuitka quite a lot, e.g. I stopped “Nuitka This Week”. The reasons are multi-facetted. I think part of the reason is that I was getting busy, part of it clearly also was Corona. But also a more dreadful change in my private life, where the real life Nuitka, my wife, became ill for a long time. Effectively it’s only become really better mid last year.

I think, this caused me to go full into code for Nuitka, and to launch Nuitka commercial, but generally to become more quiet. I have already relaxed this for a bit, e.g. about Python 3.11, I made a bunch of postings.

So this one is a bit general to start off, but I also provide fairly recent details about what I worked on for 2.0 as well.

Nuitka has evolved a lot

From a usability standpoint, ever since I went all in with Nuitka, but also before, the out of the box experience of Nuitka has become ever better. And even 2.0 will take it noticeable further. It’s the premier choice for Python deployment if you want efficiency. Its onefile mode is pretty great already and is continuously getting better.

It’s fair to say that Nuitka was great in 2019. I think in 2023 it became almost amazing for deployment. This is in large part due to working on the Yaml configuration and these things. In 2024 I hope to get it really smooth.

I actually made posts about the Yaml stuff, and I will resume the series shortly, basically it allows people to help improve the deployment side of Nuitka, e.g. missing DLLs and data files, hacks needed, etc. for packages, and it’s quickly becoming better and more complete.

Community

On the Discord server, I have been in touch with users of Nuitka a lot more. You are welcome to join us on the Discord server for Nuitka community where you can hang out with the developers and ask questions. It’s not intended as an interactive manual. You are supposed to read the docs for yourself first.

I am also now occasionally on the Python Discord server. Mostly when I get summoned to answer questions that my community thinks make sense, and have been awarded the community role there, which is pretty nice. I seem to make new connections there.

Optimization Work

I think, it’s in vain to explain what I did for performance in all that time. Mostly, some technical debts for Python3 were collected, extending to advantage in in speed of Nuitka over pure Python again. The advantage compared on Python2 was not as present, and still is not, on Python3, but for 3.10 it’s pretty good.

The major breakthroughs have not happened. But I will be talking about the plans, these sure are exciting. Lots of things are in place, some are not, but I hope to get there.

Current Evolutions

So many things on my mind right now, for one, I guess, 4 plugin changes that I have yet to document in new postings. Two are visible here in this code.

- module-name: 'toga.platform' # checksum: 4db91cac
  variables:
    setup_code: 'import toga.platform'
    declarations:
      'toga_backend_module_name': 'toga.platform.get_platform_factory().__name__'
  anti-bloat:
    - change_function:
        'get_platform_factory': "'importlib.import_module(%r)' % get_variable('toga_backend_module_name')"

First, the checksum. Nuitka is going to warn you about checking your user yaml files for correctness in the future. Since it often finds structural problems, very much needed, since yaml is whitespace sensitive, and you never know what it is: a list, a dict, etc. but the schema we created, can tell.

Second, variables are a new section, and in fact so new, they are not even documented. They can be used to query values from code at compile time. In this case we are using it to get at the backend to use, so we can tell it at runtime. Otherwise, it’s hidden to Nuitka, and could e.g. still be subject to a changed decision from environment variables, something we typically do not want.

For the third and fourth thing, we need another example. Torch can use a JIT to speed up some things, with a compilation very similar to what Nuitka does. That however needs a compiler and the source code on the target platform. Not an easy ask for all kinds of deployments. A new feature makes this easier than before.

- module-name: 'torch' # checksum: 84315db6
  parameters:
    - 'name': 'disable-jit'
      'values': 'value in ("yes", "no")'
  options:
    checks:
      - description: "Torch JIT is disabled by default, make a choice explicit with '--module-parameter=torch-disable-jit=yes|no'"
        support_info: 'parameter'
        when: 'standalone and get_parameter("disable-jit", None) is None'
  import-hacks:
    - force-environment-variables:
        'PYTORCH_JIT': '0'
      when: 'get_parameter("disable-jit", "no" if standalone else "yes") == "yes"'

So, what this does, is to make Nuitka accept parameters. The options part is designed to complain when the default value is used in standalone mode, kind of making the user acknowledge that it’s the intended value. For accelerated mode, we do not disable the JIT, since we can expect to be in the same environment with source code intact.

With get_parameter you get the option value, and can be conditional on it in the when block. That is the 3rd new thing.

The fourth new thing, is the forcing of environment variables. We have so far done this, including in plugins like tk-inter manually with post-load-code. The above is the same, effectively doing os.environ["PYTORCH_JIT"] = "0" if the JIT is to be disabled.

These changes are designed to avoid having to do plugins again. Historically for toga support, we should have created a new plugin, but now it’s not necessary anymore, since the Yaml mechanism can cover retrieval of compile time values from modules. And for torch and the JIT, a plugin would have been needed to provide the command line control for that decision.

This increased power of the Yaml will make it even less often the case that a plugin must be written. But of course docs will have to be added and maybe more places will need to work with variables to make that true even more often. More on that in the future.

Teasers

Future TWN will speak about Nuitka-Python (our own Python fork with incredible capabilities), about Nuitka-Watch (our way of making sure Nuitka works with PyPI packages and hot-fixes to not regress), about compilation reports as a new feature, Windows AV stuff, onefile improvements, and so on and so on. I got interesting stuff for many weeks. Limiting myself for now or I will never publish this.

Twitter and Mastodon

I should be more active there, although often I fail due to not wanting to talk about unfinished things, so actually I do not post there as much.

And lets not forget, having followers make me happy. So do re-tweets. Esp. those, please do them.

Help Wanted

If you are interested, I am tagging issues help wanted and there is a bunch, and very likely at least one you can help with.

Nuitka definitely needs more people to work on it.