Mobiles, Python, PyPy and the Zone VM
Next week i am going to OpenBossa, a developer conference organised by Nokia’s research institute INDT in Brazil. It’s about free and open source developments on small internet devices. I’ll be talking about PyPy on Maemo. In a nutshell, last year we made PyPy cross-compile for the Maemo/Linux platform. It turned out to use less RAM than CPython for virtually all Python objects. It also starts new Python processes faster. We have ideas to make it feasible to run hundreds of small isolated python processes on machines like my 190 Euro mobile or even cheaper ones. I’ll post my slides with some more details next week and probably also twitter and blog a bit about my conference experiences.
To be honest, I’ve long ignored developments in the mobile device world. Maybe mostly because I want to interact with people through open and freely available networks. The way in which mobile networks are run for commercial purposes hampered my use of mobiles and my general interest.
But things seem to be changing rapidly. I appreciate that. There are more and more phones who connect both to mobile networks and to WLANs. The sudden possibility to use the internet whereever i have WLAN access opens up the device for me. My small mobile has 128 MByte and a 250 MHZ ARM CPU. It runs Python. I can freely download tools from other people and use them. Or I can hack something up or get in contact with developers. I can use EMail, Internet radio, Twitter or browse the internet to begin with. I find the software generally likeable although a bit shaky to install and control sometimes.
Well, I’d like to change various aspects of the User interface but they are probably quite hard-wired, e.g. text completion. Nevertheless, i am thrilled by the overall technical opportunities. This device could soon operate my working environment (it has a 16 Gig SD-RAM card for 15 Euros) and become a center piece of collaboration and communication. For this i’d like to trust the software and the people behind it. So I look forward to meet up with developers more familiar with mobile worlds. And to hang around Porto de Galinhas which i have been told is a beautiful place.
Of course, I am also curious to present and discuss how PyPy, with some more efforts, could provide a perfectly fitting Pythonic environment for mobiles. My vision is to have a Python environment for driving all technical aspects of the phone and to instantly share scripts and apps with fellows worldwide. All on the basis of a decentral network comprised of devices participating in it. Similar to what Charles Stross describes in his books as the "Zone VM": a distributed virtual machine and environment.
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