Programming languages: Python just got a boost from Facebook's Meta

Facebook's Meta will give cash to support Python for Instagram.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Meta, which owns Facebook, has given $300,00 to the Python Software Foundation (PSF), the group that maintains Core Python (CPython) – the open-source programming language that powers most machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence apps.

"Python is very important to Meta," said the PSF, noting that PyTorch is built on Python, accelerating the path from ML research and prototyping to production within Meta and across the open-source ML ecosystem. Cinder is Meta's performance-oriented version of Python that allows Instagram to run at global scale, while Pyre is a performant type-checker used by thousands of Python developers in Meta.

Meta's investment in PSF will "provide critical support to the PSF and fund a second year of the successful Developer-in-Residence program," the PSF said in a blogpost.  

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The PSF's "Developer-in-Residence" program was launched in 2021 and funds a full-time developer role for CPython. The initiative helped PSF hire Łukasz Langa who has been "chipping away at the backlog of pull requests and completing the migration of bugs.python.org to GitHub Issues, as well as mentoring new core developers."

"Being able to work full-time on Python is a dream come true for me. I'm humbled and grateful for the opportunity, and now for the ongoing trust by the PSF and Meta. I'm extremely happy I'll be able to do that for yet another year. Having somebody around to do code review full-time helps the rest of the team focus on what they do best. With the role extending into 2023, I can start talking about more long-term contribution plans," says Langa

Python creator Guido van Rossum

Meta (which is worth about $580 billion), will also upstream improvements from Cinder to Python, and will make Meta's performance-focussed version of CPython 3.8 more broadly available. 

CPython is the basis for other implementations of the language such as Anaconda and Cinder, Facebook's implementation of it, which aims to boost Python performance for sharing photos on Instagram. 

"Cinder is Meta's performance-oriented version of CPython 3.8. It has been in use as the production Python behind Instagram server for years, as well as powering various other Python applications across Meta," explains Dino Viehland, a CPython core developer

Python creator, Guido van Rossum, who works at Microsoft today, wants to make Python twice as fast to better compete with C-based languages, which work more tightly with hardware

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