GNU Portability Library's Tool Rewritten In Python For 8~100x Better Performance

Written by Michael Larabel in GNU on 21 April 2024 at 09:42 AM EDT. 44 Comments
The GNU Portability Library for common portability code across platforms has seen a major rewrite to gnulib-tool, the program for importing modules from gnulib into their packages. This code rewrite of gnulib-tool is said to offer between eight and 100 times faster performance than the existing implementation.

The original gnulib-tool program is a shell script implementation for importing of Gnulib modules into programs for enhancing code portability. Several GNU developers have been rewriting gnulib-tool in Python rather than the shell scripts in order to address criticism of the slow performance.

Bruno Haible announced today that the Python-ized gnulib-tool implementation is ready for beta testing and should be much faster:
"gnulib-tool has been known for being slow for many years. We have listened to your complaints. A rewrite of gnulib-tool in another programming language (Python) is ready for beta-testing. It is between 8 times and 100 times faster than the original gnulib-tool.

Both implementations should behave identically, that is, produce the same generated files and the same output."

In the mailing list announcement calling for beta testing the new Gnulib code, it outlines the steps to compare the shell and Python versions of gnulib-tool for those interested.
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