[squeak-dev] Squeak vs Python "smack down"

Göran Krampe goran at krampe.se
Mon Feb 7 23:01:48 UTC 2011

Hi folks!

Since we are on the verge of 4.2, and we have a brand new Cog VM to play 
with I felt like dusting off my old Pystone port to Squeak - Sqystone, 
which I wrote back in 2004.

At that time Squeak was around 5 times faster than CPython. How do we 
stack up today? Yeah, I know - hardly a good benchmark, they all lie etc 
etc. :)

I am using Ubuntu 10.10 on a corei7, so this is running on a 64 bit CPU.

Squeak 4.2-10966 (soon to be released) + latest Cog r2361 (binary download):
Pystone(1.1) time for 50000 passes = 0.06
This machine benchmarks at 833333.3 pystones/second

NOTE: AFAICT running with more passes does not improve it. Also, not 
sure if I could get more out of this if I built from source on my box.

Regular Squeak
Squeak 4.2-10966 (soon to be released) + regular Squeak VM 4.4.7-2357 
(built from src):
Pystone(1.1) time for 50000 passes = 0.503
This machine benchmarks at 99403.6 pystones/second

Regular CPython
CPython 3.1.2 (newest in Ubuntu Meerkat, minimal):
gokr at quigon:/usr/lib/python3.1/test$ python3.1 pystone.py
Pystone(1.1) time for 50000 passes = 0.57
This machine benchmarks at 87719.3 pystones/second

NOTE: 3.2 is reportedly a teeny bit faster. Also not built from source.

Pypy 1.4
wget http://pypy.org/download/pypy-1.4.1-linux64.tar.bz2
gokr at quigon:~/python/pypy-1.4.1-linux64$ ./bin/pypy 
Pystone(1.1) time for 50000 passes = 0.15
This machine benchmarks at 333333 pystones/second
gokr at quigon:~/python/pypy-1.4.1-linux64$ ./bin/pypy 
./lib-python/2.5.2/test/pystone.py 5000000
Pystone(1.1) time for 5000000 passes = 4.8
This machine benchmarks at 1.04167e+06 pystones/second

NOTE: Also not built from source. Here we run pystone a second time with 
100x more loops and get a substantially better number.

Shedskin 0.7
sudo apt-get install g++ libpcre3-dev libgc-dev python-dev
sudo dpkg -i shedskin_0.7_all.deb
wget http://shedskin.googlecode.com/files/shedskin-examples-0.7.tgz
shedskin pystone.py
gokr at quigon:~/python/shedskin-examples-0.7$ make
g++  -O2 -march=native -fomit-frame-pointer -Wno-deprecated  -I. 
-I/usr/share/shedskin/lib /usr/share/shedskin/lib/builtin.cpp 
pystone.cpp /usr/share/shedskin/lib/time.cpp 
/usr/share/shedskin/lib/re.cpp -lgc -lpcre  -o pystone
gokr at quigon:~/python/gokr at quigon:~/python/shedskin-examples-0.7$ ls -la 
-rwxr-xr-x 1 gokr gokr 297329 2011-02-07 23:01 pystone
-rw-r--r-- 1 gokr gokr   9193 2011-02-07 23:00 pystone.cpp
-rw-r--r-- 1 gokr gokr   1893 2011-02-07 23:00 pystone.hpp
-rw-r--r-- 1 gokr gokr   5774 2010-12-11 11:40 pystone.py
gokr at quigon:~/python/shedskin-examples-0.7$ ./pystone
This machine benchmarks at 2500000.000000 pystones/second

NOTE: I am wondering a bit about this. It tells the same whatever loops 
I give it... But ok, perhaps it is all fine.


- The regular Squeak VM has not been overrun by CPython in these 6 years 
time. When I wrote Sqystone Squeak was 5x faster IIRC (can't find the 
post anymore). Now they are equal more or less, Squeak still a teeny bit 

- Cog is brutally fast on this one. Compared to CPython and regular 
Squeak almost 10x faster.

- Pypy is about 20% faster than Cog if given enough time to actually 
start jitting. Cool for the Pypy project! And cool that they aren't that 
much faster than Cog. :)

- Shedskin is the "state of the art" of statically compiling Python via 
C++ using type inferencing etc etc - so I hear. It is said to be faster 
than Cython and Psyco. It ends up beating Cog, but "only" by a factor of 
3x. I say "only" because that seems pretty good to me given that Cog is 
a JIT and still pretty young and that Shedskin can only run a subset of 

regards, Göran

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