Title: Create a new helper function that enable to test that an operation don't hang more than a given timeout.
Type: enhancement Stage: resolved
Components: Tests Versions: Python 3.2
Status: closed Resolution: rejected
Dependencies: Superseder:
Assigned To: Nosy List: haypo, mouad, neologix
Priority: normal Keywords: patch

Created on 2011-06-25 14:49 by mouad, last changed 2012-02-05 15:31 by neologix. This issue is now closed.

File name Uploaded Description Edit
operation_timeout.patch mouad, 2011-06-25 15:00 Add a helper method to make sure that an operation will not last more than a given timeout. review
Messages (6)
msg139075 - (view) Author: mouad (mouad) * Date: 2011-06-25 14:49
While working on issue #12157 [], I needed a function that make sure that an operation will not hang forever, for this reason i have create this helper function that support the context manager protocol and accept a timeout as an argument and raise an IOError if the operation didn't terminate before that timeout.
msg139091 - (view) Author: Charles-François Natali (neologix) * (Python committer) Date: 2011-06-25 15:59
It's a little bit more complicated than that:
- signals and threads don't mix well together
- this will make syscalls fail with EINTR
- the old SIGALRM handler is lost
- etc

In short, don't use signals.
I'm not sure there's a reliable way to write such a general-purpose wrapper (usually one can use select() with a timeout or spawn a subprocess and use communicate's timeout to achieve this kind of things).
In your use case (issue #12157), I think that letting the test block is fine, since:
- there's no easy way to add a timeout (but you could spawn a new interpreter and use communicate with a timeout if you really wanted to)
- it will be caught by the faulthandler module
- a test killed by faulthandler's timeout is more interesting to fix that a "common" failed test ;-)
msg139099 - (view) Author: mouad (mouad) * Date: 2011-06-25 16:37
Thanks for the instructive feedback :)

I totally agree i guess there is a lot of issues that i didn't think of :-(, my first thinking was to use "Pool.join" timeout argument but it was removed in 3.2 (by the way i didn't find the issue or the rational that lead to this change).

And now that i know about "faulthandler" module i guess that will make also my life easier :), i will rewrite the patch in the issue #12157 to not use any *fancy* way to check if it will hang.

msg139123 - (view) Author: STINNER Victor (haypo) * (Python committer) Date: 2011-06-25 22:09
alarm() is one possible implementation, but Charles-François listed some drawbacks.

You can also use resource.setrlimit(RLIMIT_CPU), but the timeout is the CPU time (e.g. you cannot stop a sleep) and it is not portable (e.g. resource is not available on Windows).

Another possible implementation is a thread. faulthandler uses an "hidden" thread (implemented in C): a thread ignoring all signals using pthread_sigmask. Python threads are not reliable for a timeout because of the GIL, and it is not easy to "interrupt" another thread from the "timeout" thread. For example, you cannot (easily) raise an exception in another thread.

> I'm not sure there's a reliable way to write such a general-purpose
> wrapper

I agree, but it doesn't mean that it is not possible :-)

I think that you should try to implement in C a thread ignoring all signals. It becomes more complex when you have to implement the "interrupt the current thread" (current thread, or maybe the thread using the operation_timeout context manager?) part.

I suppose that you will have to use low-level "tricks" and you will have to experiment your tool on different platform.

You should start this project outside CPython (as a third party module), and then ask for an integration when your work is well tested. You have to know that a module "dies" when it enters CPython: you have to wait something like 18 months to modify it, so you have to be sure that your code is "correct" ;-)
msg139127 - (view) Author: STINNER Victor (haypo) * (Python committer) Date: 2011-06-25 22:46
Oh, there is another possible implementation: use a subprocess. But if the timeout is implemented using a subprocess, the syntax cannot be:

with timeout(5):

It should be something like:

timeout(5, """if 1:
   import os, sys

Some tests are already doing that manually.
msg152692 - (view) Author: Charles-François Natali (neologix) * (Python committer) Date: 2012-02-05 15:31
Closing, since it's hard to write correctly, and apparently not that useful.
Date User Action Args
2012-02-05 15:31:10neologixsetstatus: open -> closed
resolution: rejected
messages: + msg152692

stage: resolved
2011-06-25 22:46:28hayposetmessages: + msg139127
2011-06-25 22:09:31hayposetmessages: + msg139123
2011-06-25 16:37:23mouadsetmessages: + msg139099
2011-06-25 15:59:03neologixsetnosy: + neologix
messages: + msg139091
2011-06-25 15:39:27r.david.murraysetnosy: + haypo
2011-06-25 15:00:06mouadsetfiles: + operation_timeout.patch
2011-06-25 14:58:26mouadsetfiles: - operation_timeout.patch
2011-06-25 14:49:35mouadcreate