Wednesday, February 25, 2015

5 Projects To Speed Up Python's Performance

Python programming language is considered as somewhat old-fashioned by many in comparison to C, Java and JavaScript. But that doesn't mean parties ditch Python as it has so many good things to think about. Instead there are some projects which can give the programming language a huge performance boost. There are two options to run Python faster on the same hardware – one is to create a replacement for the default runtime of the language and the other is to rewrite existing Python code for speed optimisations. Here are five projects which have the potential to raise the bar of Python's performance.
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1. PyPy

PyPy is one of the most visible options for CPython's replacement. It can also become the default one as it's highly compatible with the existing code of Python. PyPy uses just-in-time (JIT) compilation which is used by Google Chrome's V8 JavaScript engine too. PyPy 2.5, the latest version, has some more performance improvements like better support for some common libraries which are useful in boosting Python performance like NumPy. If anyone is using Python 3.x, then PyPy3 is compatible.

2. Pyston

It's a Dropbox-sponsored project which uses LLVM compiler infrastructure to speed up Python with JIT compilation. Pyston is in its early stages and supports a limited subset of Python's features. It boosts performance of some key benchmarks of the language to a certain level. Pyston will soon be ready for remote production too.

3. Nuitka

It removes Python runtime completely and finds out ways to transpile Python code to languages which can run natively at high speed. It converts Python to C++ code. As it still depends on the existing Python runtimes, its portability is limited but conversion assures speed optimisation. Nuitka is aimed to interface Python directly with C code which will boost its speed.

4. Cython

C extensions for Python or Cython is Python's superset and a version which compiles with C and interfaces with C/C++ code. It writes C extensions for Python. The only drawback is that it's not actually writing Python, else porting code which cannot be automatic completely. Cython has great advantages in relation to speed optimisations. Numerous scientific packages for Python, like scikit-learn are drawn on Cython features so that the functions are fast enough.

5. Numba

Numba is a combination of Nuitka and Cython. From Cython it takes the concept of how to speed up parts of the language like CPU-bound math which is done by LLVM. Numba's compiled functions can be specified with a decorator and Numba works in association with NumPy so that the functions are found faster. But Numba doesn't perform JITing.

According to Python creator Guido van Rossum, Python's performance issues can be traced to improper use of the language. NumPy can help in making CPU-heavy processing better via multiprocessing extensions. It can also make calls to the external C code by avoiding the Global Interpreter Lock (GIL). There is no viable replacement for GIL in Python though.

Courtesy: Java World 

Gmail Auto-Complete Bug Sends Mail To Wrong Contacts, Google Working On A Fix!

Gmail users have been affected by a bug, as it seems, in its 'auto-complete' feature as it's sending emails to wrong contacts. This feature allows inserting names of people in the 'To' field whom the user mails frequently.

But the bug is prioritising some contacts that are less frequently used. The problem has been reported by New York City venture capitalist Fred Wilson as he wrote that he received a bunch of emails that were actually not meant for him. People are complaining about the bug all over Twitter too, as reported by Business Insider.

But all Gmail users are not facing the problem. Google has acknowledged the issue via its Twitter post and said that it is already looking into it. Users have been asked to stay tuned till the issue is resolved. Gmail's Twitter post reads, “We're aware of an issue with Gmail and auto-complete and are currently investigating. Apologies for any inconvenience.”

Later one more post said, “Thanks again for your patience everyone re: Gmail and auto-complete. We've identified the issue and are working on a fix. Stay tuned.” 

Participate In Ubuntu Community Wallpaper Contest Now, You May Not Get A Chance Again!

 Canonical chooses number of wallpapers that are submitted by the community. Everyone is given a chance to see how their creation looks like after being implemented on the Ubuntu operating systems by default. Now the same is happening for Ubuntu 15.04 branch too.
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As the development cycle for the Ubuntu branch is closing to its end, the community is getting a chance to participate in the wallpaper contest. It's a tradition now for many years and a successful initiative too. But this time participation is little poorer in comparison to previous times. Only a handful of images have been uploaded so far but that also means that you have a better chance to see your artwork in Ubuntu this time. Two years ago, hundreds of images were posted, some of them were not even original. But luckily enough the not-original images were spotted on time.

The submission process is still open and you can participate by following a simple set of rules. You can submit anything but don't ignore the rules precedented on the official website. Don't promote any brand, don't create an artwork that is sexually provocative, don't use any version number, don't promote any violence etc. Users must keep in mind that a dock will be present on the desktop so don't keep anything important on the left side.

You should definitely check the guidelines for more details. Iain Farrell, who is in charge of this contest, writes, "This will be the last wallpaper process I try to kick off unless there’s an outcry, and I'm really not expecting one. I think this has been a fun way to include non developers for a while but it may be time to find another way, if another way is needed. I really enjoy doing it but if we're not getting the interest then probably better to put our energy into something else.”

As the number of participants is low this time, starting with Ubuntu 15.10 something different might be planned and you might never again get a chance to submit your creation. So don't hesitate this time and give it a try. Best wishes! 

Windows 10 To Support Multiple Languages With A New Shaping Engine!

Microsoft is leaving no stone unturned to make Windows 10 the perfect operating system for every user worldwide. Windows OS is available globally that makes it mandatory that it supports all languages. The latest development from Windows 10 branch says it's happening finally.

Till date, Windows lacked in support for global languages and to overcome this drawback Microsoft will introduce a Universal Shaping Engine in Windows 10 that will increase language support and it will benefit millions of its global users. The shaping engine will enable scripts with contextual and non-linear typographic requirements to be displayed on the computer screen.

There is no shaping engine as of now in the OS and that's why it doesn't support half of the languages. That's why people install various fonts and use different keyboards. The Universal Shaping Engine in Windows 10 will support any complex script provided with a suitable font. This shaping engine is universal because it consumes data directly from the Unicode Standards, it uses Universal scripting model that models the superset of human writing systems, it enables support for advanced typography with the help of opentype font feature and its many more specifications.

With this new engine, Windows 10 supports languages like Balinese, Batak, Brahmi, Buginese, Buhid, Chakma, Cham, Duployan, Egyptian Hieroglyphs, Grantha, Hanunoo, Javanese, Kaithi, Kayah Li, Kharoshthi, Khojki, Khudawadi, Lepcha, Limbu, Mahajani, Mandaic, Manichaean, Meitei Mayek, Modi, Mongolian, N’Ko, Pahawh Hmong, Phags-pa, Psalter Pahlavi, Rejang, Saurashtra, Sharada, Siddham, Sinhala, Sundanese, Syloti Nagri, Tagalog, Tagbanwa, Tai Le, Tai Tham, Tai Viet, Takri, Tibetan, Tifinagh and Tirhuta. Some of these languages were supported in the previous version too but with a different technology. 

Windows 10 Pops Up As A “Green Shoot” Among Microsoft’s Slipping Mobile Market Share

For Microsoft’s mobile strategy, the only direction available is up. Today, IDC reported that Android and iOS controlled 96.3 percent of the mobile market in 2014. That means that Microsoft’s Windows 10 strategy, which will see a single operating system stretch from the smallest to the largest screens, is starting in many ways from scratch.
Interestingly, Microsoft actually grew its device volume in 2014, but saw its market share as a percentage of the global market decline, as the market expanded at a faster pace.
Microsoft dropped the public technical preview of Windows 10 for phones just under two weeks ago. From a feature perspective the preview remains incomplete, but TechCrunch’s initial view was that the new code “improve[s] the overall experience” of using Windows on the go.
The latest data from Ad Duplex, sourced from its network of 5,090 apps that use its advertising platform, indicate that Windows 10 for phones managed to accrete measurable, if minute, market share. Call it the green shoot of Microsoft’s mobile strategy:
Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 11.23.59 AM
That little sliver is Microsoft’s hope for a mobile future. It’s a notable figure as this is precisely as small as Windows 10’s phone market share will ever be. When you are 0.2 percent of a platform that has only a few points of global market share, it’s a small slice.
It’s also worth keeping in mind how quickly Windows 10’s market share will grow inside of the Windows Phone universe — given that Microsoft will provide free upgrades to a majority of Windows Phone owners whose phones can make the jump, Windows 10 could quickly become the majority platform in the Windows Phone universe. Microsoft’s developer gambit is that it will bring a huge chunk of the Windows 7, 8, 8.1, and Phone 8.1 universe under the 10 aegis in rapid order, creating a massive base for developers to sell into.
Fun game: What is Windows 10’s mobile market share inside of Windows Phone at the end of the year, and what is its tally among the larger smartphone market at year’s end?
Regardless, this new data marks the start of market adoption for Windows 10 on smartphones. Charge of the Light Brigade, or start of a new era? We’ll see.