Title: Memory keeping
Type: Stage:
Components: Interpreter Core Versions: Python 2.4
Status: closed Resolution: wont fix
Dependencies: Superseder:
Assigned To: Nosy List: josiahcarlson, sin_avatar, tim.peters
Priority: normal Keywords:

Created on 2005-10-26 09:37 by sin_avatar, last changed 2005-10-31 20:00 by tim.peters. This issue is now closed.

Messages (8)
msg26712 - (view) Author: sin (sin_avatar) Date: 2005-10-26 09:37
I execute this code on python 2.4.2 (authentic copy from 
Python 2.4.2 (#1, Oct 26 2005, 14:45:33)
[GCC 2.95.4 20020320 [FreeBSD]] on freebsd4
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more 
>>> a = range(1,10000000)
>>> del a

before i type del - i run top and get (see console output 
16300 sin           2   0   162M   161M poll     0:02 35.76% 
 9.28% python2.4

after del (console below):
16300 sin           2   0   162M   161M poll     0:03  7.18% 
 6.05% python2.4

I tried gc too ... but python didn't free memory. I checked 
this on windows - memory was freed, but interpreter with 
0 defined variables "eat" about 75 Mb!. I think this is bug 
in interpereter core.

some text from dmesg for you:
Copyright (c) 1992-2003 The FreeBSD Project.
Copyright (c) 1979, 1980, 1983, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1991, 
1992, 1993, 1994
        The Regents of the University of California. All rights 
FreeBSD 4.8-RELEASE #0: Thu Apr  3 10:53:38 GMT 
Timecounter "i8254"  frequency 1193182 Hz
CPU: Pentium III/Pentium III Xeon/Celeron (499.15-MHz 
686-class CPU)
  Origin = "GenuineIntel"  Id = 0x673  Stepping = 3
real memory  = 268369920 (262080K bytes)
avail memory = 255901696 (249904K bytes)
msg26713 - (view) Author: Josiah Carlson (josiahcarlson) * (Python triager) Date: 2005-10-27 19:29
Logged In: YES 

From what I understand, whether or not the Python runtime
"frees" memory (which can be freed) is generally dependant
on platform malloc() and free().
msg26714 - (view) Author: Tim Peters (tim.peters) * (Python committer) Date: 2005-10-27 19:38
Logged In: YES 

Space for integer objects in particular lives in an immortal 
free list of unbounded size, so it's certain in the current 
implementation that doing range(10000000) will hang on to 
space for 10 million integers forever.  If you don't want that, 
don't do that ;-)  Iterating over xrange(10000000) instead will 
consume very little RAM.
msg26715 - (view) Author: sin (sin_avatar) Date: 2005-10-31 06:15
Logged In: YES 

Certainly, i 'am not a C guru, but i uderstood - if interpreter 
keep more than 100Mb, and not keep useful information - it's 
suxx. Fore example if i use my script as a part Zope portal - it 
would be awful. Certainly my script was just example - but if i 
use mult-thread server wrote on python and create list in each 
thread - i would take memory from system and i cannot give it 
msg26716 - (view) Author: Josiah Carlson (josiahcarlson) * (Python triager) Date: 2005-10-31 06:56
Logged In: YES 

Suggested close because and/or:
a) not a bug (integer freelists)
b) platform specific malloc/free behavior on the
list->ob_item member (some platforms will drop to 121M
allocated memory after the deletion)
c) OP didn't listen when it was suggested they use xrange()
instead of range()
msg26717 - (view) Author: sin (sin_avatar) Date: 2005-10-31 09:06
Logged In: YES 

One more time.
>>> a = [1 for i in xrange(10000000)]
>>> del a
This code clear - and this not raise "memory keeping"(!)

>>> a = [i for i in xrange(10000000)]
>>> del a
But this code take about 163 Mb on my freeBSD. I can't
udestood why you don't care about this?
P.S. somebody explain me phrase "a) not a bug (integer 
msg26718 - (view) Author: Josiah Carlson (josiahcarlson) * (Python triager) Date: 2005-10-31 19:11
Logged In: YES 

Integers are immutable.  That is, each integer with a
different value will be a different integer object (some
integers with the same value will also be different
objects).  In CPython, id(obj) is the memory location of
that object.

>>> a = 9876
>>> id(a)
>>> a += 1
>>> id(a)

It is assumed by the CPython runtime, based on significant
experience by CPython programmers, that if you are using a
large number of integers now, that you are probably going to
use a large number of integers in the future.

When an integer object is allocated, the object hangs around
for as long as it is needed, and when it is no longer
needed, it is placed on a list of allocated integer objects
which can be re-used, but which are never freed (the integer
freelist).  This allows Python to allocate blocks of
integers at a time when necessary (which speeds up
allocations), re-use unused integer objects (which removes
additional allocations in the majority of cases), and
removes the free() call (on many platforms, free() doesn't

Integer freelists are not going away, and the behavior you
are experiencing is a result of integer freelists (though
the 163M rather than 123M memory used is a result of
FreeBSD's memory manager not being perfect).

As Tim Peters suggested, if you need to iterate through 10
million unique integers, do so via xrange, but don't save
them all.  If you can't think about how to do such a thing
in your application, you can ask users on the
comp.lang.python newsgroup, or via the mailing list, but remember to include
the code you are using now and a description of what you
want it to do.
msg26719 - (view) Author: Tim Peters (tim.peters) * (Python committer) Date: 2005-10-31 20:00
Logged In: YES 

sin_avatar, it's the number of integer objects _simultaneously 
alive_ that matters, not the total number of integer objects 
ever created.  Creating a list (or any other in-memory 
container) containing millions of integers can be a bad idea 
on many counts.

I'm closing this as WontFix, as there are no plans to replace 
the integer freelist.  I think it would be good if an upper bound 
were placed on its size (as most other internal freelists have), 
but that's trickier than it sounds and there are no plans to do 
that either.

> I can't udestood why you don't care about this?

It's a tradeoff:  it's much easier to avoid in real life than it is to 
change the implementation in a way that would actually help 
(the int freelist is an important speed optimization for most 
integer-heavy apps).  Changing your coding practices to live 
with this is your only realistic hope for relief.

BTW, the idea that you might really need to create a list with 
10 million integers in each thread of a threaded server is too 
bizarre to argue about ;-)
Date User Action Args
2005-10-26 09:37:53sin_avatarcreate