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Ask HN: What startups use C and Python?
37 points by brewerhimself on July 29, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 59 comments
I know Mixpanel uses both of these, but what are some other startups that use both C and Python?

EDIT: Bonus points for any companies hiring junior developers!

Skoobe, a new ebook subscription service based in Munich/Germany.

C and Python are in fact our most-used and loved languages.

We developed a cross-platform library in C that makes our codebase reusable across multiple platforms, currently we support iOS, Android, Linux and MacOSX. Next: maybe Windows/Windows Phone?

Most of our backend services and our web site are running on Python/Tornado. Additionally, we use Python a lot for infrastructure automation on AWS.

Btw: we are currently hiring in both areas, send me a mail in case you are interested: hp@skoobe.de

If you want to take a look at our app, go here: http://itunes.apple.com/de/app/skoobe-e-books-leihen-statt/i...

Why've you got one of Thilo Sarrazin's books featured in your screenshots?

What Python tools or libraries are you using for infrastructure automation?

I've sent you an email. Thanks :)

Don't pigeonhole yourself by languages you want to use. Interestingness of work is not correlated with language very much.

Good advice in general, but if C and Python are the only languages that he currently knows, getting a job at a company that uses them might be much easier than convincing an employer that he could quickly learn Ruby or Haskell.

This is pretty much my line of thought in a nutshell.

Agreed. When I'm hiring developers, when they tell me they only want to work in certain languages, it's almost always a red flag in terms of their overall problem-solving ability. Just my experience though.

What about if they say they are only fluent in certain languages at the moment while having a basic knowledge in the languages that you use? Do you look more for ability to solve computer science and discrete math problems?

Pretty much. I don't really care if you know the languages we use because you'll pick it up in the first couple of weeks on the job. People who can really solve problems are rare.

Enthought - www.enthought.com

We are the scipy/numpy folks and use Python/C to solve interesting scientific / engineering problems. I have been writing interesting Python C extensions for the last six months.

Python and C (maybe C++ more than C) are very popular in scientific programming. In the fields I know something about (crystallography, bioinformatics, molecular dynamics simulations) probably the majority of projects that started in this century is in C++ and Python.

Consider interesting, underpaid academic jobs for programmers. There is a good chance that your software will make a bigger difference to the world than in a startup.

The server side code of http://www.cyclinganalytics.com/ is almost entirely Python with a small amount of C.

There's one particular bit of data processing that gets a couple of orders of magnitude speedup by writing the code in C rather than Python. It involves lots of loops and indexes, and it's possible there's a faster way to do it in Python, but I couldn't think of one.

I've been considering getting a bike for some time now. It should be in the budget soon, so I'll bookmark your app and use it some time. Thanks!

Thanks. You might want to check out Strava too.

My site is focused on the niche of "serious" cyclists who use power meters. The three main ones are PowerTap, Quarq and SRM, none of which are cheap (you can get a PowerTap wheel for about $1k, and that's the cheapest). They're widely used by competitive cyclists, and as somebody who loves numbers, I highly recommend them (power data is the most revealing data that can be collected on a bike), but the vast majority of bikes don't have them (yet).

I'm not trying to dissuade you from using my site, but you might be more satisfied with Strava. That said, it's possible to use both — rides uploaded to my site can be automatically uploaded to Strava.

(I'm going to remake the front page to make it more informative soon.)

I'm not sure that you would be able to get it as fast in Python but if you have not checked out the bisect module, I highly recommend it.

I know that Google is using C and Python. The first version of Google was written in Python. Today the webserver and the web page are written in C, for performance reasons. But internally they still use a lot of Python.

So far I have only seen C++ from Google, never C. Are you referring to anything specific from them?

We have some C; adb for example.

Google is too large for me .. at least for now. :) I'm looking for a place where I can work on an entire (or at least a large portion) product.

Orvant has lots of Python under the hood. It allows us to move quickly. There are very few things we actually need to use C or C++ for. The main reason we'd use C is to write Python bindings for a C library. :)


Orvant looks really cool! Are you hiring, by chance?

We are not actively hiring right now. Though if you think what we do is interesting I encourage you to send your contact info and resume to support@orvant.com

The company I work for uses C and PHP mainly , but as our platform is Gentoo that also makes us users of python. I also write most of the utility scripts I use in python.


SevOne's careers page says that a Bachelor's degree is a requirement. How strict is SevOne (or any other company, for that matter) on this requirement? Do you know of any software engineers that don't have a degree?

> SevOne's careers page says that a Bachelor's degree is a requirement

Don't let this stop you. Every. If you honestly think you have the skills for the job after reading the description, seek it out. Let them determine if you are right for the position.

Don't be the no in your life.

> Don't be the no in your life.

I feel like this is from the movie Yes, Man! That aside, I take your advice to heart. I don't want to be the no in my life. :)

It's not. At least, I've never seen the movie. I forgot where I heard that. So I googled it.

In a search looking for that exact quote, I came up with only a few links. All from either comments I made previously or a blog post.


That was where I originally used it.

I was proud of it, mostly because it was short and to the point. I'm usually not short and to the point.

Anyways, in writing about this on my blog, I had a wonderful surprise happen.


From his LinkedIn profile, I take it he never got/took the job. But, he seems to be doing well.

But yeah, I think it's good advice.

> Don't be the no in your life.

That's some wonderful advice - thanks for sharing!

Loads of software engineers don't have a degree.

true. you don't need a degree to be an excellent software engineer, but you do need to understand CS fundamentals. although not a guarantee a degree helps you learn them, but if you're smart there's no obstacle of learning them on your own.

there are lots of engineers who are at SevOne that don't have degrees. Send me an E-mail and we can talk about it. we are always looking for talent regardless of their background.

Nest is using both C (for embedded Linux on the thermostat) and Python (some of the API services) they are also hiring for lots of positions, some are listed at nest.com/careers

Nest looks really cool and I like the idea of having a physical (as opposed to virtual) product. Are you interested in hiring any junior engineers? Feel free to drop me a line (my email is in my profile) or leave your email here, I'd love to chat.


Our machine learning code is in C and accessed from Python via Cython.

did you write the libraries yourself? is it libsvm with a python wrapper? I'm curious

Definitely influenced by a few existing libraries (libsvm, svmlight etc.) but ultimately custom built to really ramp up performance and scaling. Our customers throw the Twitter firehose at us, so we need to be able to analyze data quickly.

Wow, I assumed libsvm was already really fast. That is awesome you could improve on that! Any chance you might opensource it in the future?

Sibling comment is impressed, but I'm skeptical that you've improved libsvm. Sorry, can't help it. :)

Can you speak a bit about how you optimized it? I took libsvm to be fairly optimized as far as SVM libraries go...

Yeah, in terms of performance "improved" is the wrong term. We've tailored things more to our use cases, especially since we need feature weighting and multi classification, rather than simply binary classification.

Very cool! I geek out over SVM optimizations and tweaks--have you collected your work anywhere (post? HN comment?) by any chance?

Not really, sorry, but we're adding a new API to be able to setup and configure your own svms. Stay tuned or follow us on twitter @repustate

its possible he is using a specialized kernel or something, or some other edge use case that would make optimizations more feasible


the core chat/webserver is written in C and accessed via Python. And yes, we are hiring jr devs

At metalayer.com we use Python heavily for our web app and some C for backend/scalability stuff. We're also hiring. Would love to chat.

I checked out the website, but I didn't see a jobs page. I'd be interested in chatting too, so feel free to drop me an email (my email can be found in my profile) or leave yours here.

I'm pretty sure Spotify is mainly C/C++ in the client and python for the web

Just a note: I plan on replying to every comment here. I'm on the tail end of my lunch break right now and don't have the time, but I'll do it first thing when I get home.

Maybe Youtube does?I heard they were using Python.And if you doing a video share site,you will use ffmpeg or something like that.It's must be written in C。

I worked for Veridae (veridae.com) doing some really interesting EDA software and we used both very heavily. They got acquired by Tektronix last year.

OrionVM in Australia.

We do alot of async and evented I/O in Python/C/Cython using Gevent.

Python is just one of those languages that is so easy to extend with native code.

Check out www.omnicloudapp.com - they're hiring devs in Stockholm / the US for disrupting the hosting world.

I checked out the jobs page, but I got a 404 error. I'd love to talk though, so feel free to drop me a line (my email is in my profile) or leave your email here.

Counsyl uses Python and C. https://www.counsyl.com

bitly is overwhelmingly C and Python

Bitly has always interested me because it looks like it would be such a simple project, but there are obviously interesting scaling problems to be solved at Bitly.

Kontagent uses both.

Just FYI, that means butt-agent in Dutch :)

I found this funny enough to tell a co-worker about it.

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