In our port of Python 2.7 to the PS3 console, we have deliberately removed the python compiler. This was mainly done to save on the code size, since on a console every byte is sacred. An additional benefit is slight hardening against certain kinds of attacks, since evil constructs such as eval() and exec() now raise the NotImplementedError when used.
Program code is pre-compiled and put in .zip archives so there is no need for regular compilation on the console. The most serious problem we encountered though, was with the new namedtuple construct.
The namedtuple is implemented in the collections module by constructing a class declaration with string interpolation and then calling exec() on it. With exec() removed, a lot of the standard library turned out to fail on import.
Our initial fix was simply to replace the namedtuples with regular tuples:
def namedtuple(typename, field_names, verbose=False, rename=False):
This worked surprisingly well. The parts of the library we were using were still using namedtuples just like regular tuples and all was well.
Recently, however, we found that the urlparse module was making non-trivial use of it so something needed to be done. My initial reflex was to dive in and reimplement it using a metaclass or some such. But then I thought of asking the internet.
It turns out that this exists as an issue in the Python bug tracker. Someone else had come across this oddity in the standard library and submitted an alternative implementation. This works perfectly for our purposes.
I know that there is nothing inherently evil about using exec in Python, but this particular case still doesn’t quite ring true to me: If the best way to implement a class is by resorting to the meta-language, doesn’t that indicate some shortcoming in the language itself?