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Title: readline /dev/tty problem
Type: behavior Stage:
Components: None Versions: Python 3.11, Python 3.10, Python 3.9, Python 3.8, Python 3.7, Python 3.6
Status: closed Resolution: accepted
Dependencies: Superseder:
Assigned To: loewis Nosy List: agthorr, loewis, mwh, piwi
Priority: normal Keywords: patch

Created on 2002-02-04 21:42 by agthorr, last changed 2022-04-10 16:04 by admin. This issue is now closed.

File name Uploaded Description Edit
readline-tty.diff agthorr, 2002-02-04 21:42 Fix to make readline library work via sys.stdin = open ('/dev/tty', 'r')
readline-tty2.diff agthorr, 2002-10-11 07:23 Fix to make readline library aware of changes to sys.stdin, reinitializing appropriately
readline-tty3.diff agthorr, 2002-10-14 05:12 Fix to always use C stdin/stdout for the interactive interpreter
Messages (15)
msg38862 - (view) Author: Daniel Stutzbach (agthorr) Date: 2002-02-04 21:42
GNU readline doesn't work if the C symbol "stdin" is
not a tty, even if the python symbol sys.stdin is. 
This will happen, for example, if a program initially
receives input from a pipe, but then changes sys.stdin
to read from /dev/tty.  (This is how programs like
"less" work)

Here's a sample program that exhibits this behavior:

#!/usr/bin/env python

import sys

mail = ()

sys.stdin = open ('/dev/tty', 'r')

import readline

foo = raw_input ('add_idea> ')
print foo

You can test this by saving the above program to a file
(, piping data to it, then trying to use GNU
readline editing commands at the prompt.


liberty:~$ cat ideas.html | ./
add_idea> asdfsdf^Afoo

The patch attached seems to fix the problem.  You may
want to grep the source for other modules that may have
similar bugs.  Also, this patch assumes that the
readline module is imported *after* sys.stdin is
changed.  This much better than nothing (particularly
if it's documented), but there may be a better solution.

-- Agthorr
msg38863 - (view) Author: Michael Hudson (mwh) (Python committer) Date: 2002-02-05 10:35
Logged In: YES 


1) in what ways does this change existing behaviour?  I can
think of a few, but are there any that will inconvenience
existing users
2) why not do the rl_instream = PySys_GetObject("stdin")
dance in call_readline()?
msg38864 - (view) Author: Daniel Stutzbach (agthorr) Date: 2002-02-05 18:21
Logged In: YES 

1) Well, it lets python treat sys.stdin as a tty even if C
stdin != python sys.stdin.  It still checks to make sure
sys.stdin is a tty using isatty().  If some user changes
sys.stdin to point to a tty, but *wants* Python to treat it
as a non-tty, then this might cause them some grief.  I
can't think of any case where they'd want to do that,
though.  The behavior would be unchanged when sys.stdin
points to a regular file.

2) hmm.. I suppose, ideally, the readline module should
smoothly handle sys.stdin being changed out from under it. 
Readline alters various terminal settings on rl_instream
during initialization, though.  For example, it changes the
terminal to raw or cbreak mode from cooked mode, so that it
can receive input a character at a time instead of a line at
a time.  It may be possible to uninitialized and
reinitialized terminal each time call_readline is called, I
suppose (I believe libreadline provides hooks for this).  It
would also have to check if sys.stdin is a tty, and call
PyFile_GetLine if it is not.
msg38865 - (view) Author: Daniel Stutzbach (agthorr) Date: 2002-04-25 20:02
Logged In: YES 

If I create a patch that operates as described in my
previous followup, will you apply it?  Is there anything I
can do to get this integrated into the main python trunk?  I
don't like having to repatch and rebuild python everytime a
new version comes out that I need for some other reason :>
msg38866 - (view) Author: Martin v. Löwis (loewis) * (Python committer) Date: 2002-10-07 21:15
Logged In: YES 

Are you interested in pursuing this feature? I cannot promise 
that I will apply it blankly, only that I will review it.
msg38867 - (view) Author: Daniel Stutzbach (agthorr) Date: 2002-10-07 21:32
Logged In: YES 

Yes, I'm interested in pursuing it.  Let me know what I can
do to move this along.
msg38868 - (view) Author: Martin v. Löwis (loewis) * (Python committer) Date: 2002-10-08 09:27
Logged In: YES 

I think you should implement a strategy to detect changes to
sys.stdin dynamically. For example, the old sys.stdin could
go away, closing the file, which would leave readline with a
garbage pointer.

Instead, I think you should hold onto sys.stdin, and compare
this reference from time to time with the current sys.stdin,
and arrange to reinitialize readline (if possible).
msg38869 - (view) Author: Daniel Stutzbach (agthorr) Date: 2002-10-11 07:23
Logged In: YES 

Okay, I've attached a new patch that works as you suggested.
 Let me know if you have any questions or concerns.
msg38870 - (view) Author: Martin v. Löwis (loewis) * (Python committer) Date: 2002-10-13 10:44
Logged In: YES 

It appears that your patch can crash when sys.stdin/out is
not a file anymore:

>>> import readline
>>> import codecs,sys
>>> sys.stdout=codecs.getwriter('utf-8')(sys.stdout)
Segmentation fault (core dumped)
msg38871 - (view) Author: Daniel Stutzbach (agthorr) Date: 2002-10-13 17:24
Logged In: YES 

Jeez.  My apologies.

I will submit a new patch within a few days, and this time I
will do regression testing instead of just looking at the
problem I was trying to fix.
msg38872 - (view) Author: Daniel Stutzbach (agthorr) Date: 2002-10-14 05:12
Logged In: YES 

When in interactive mode, if the user changes
sys.std[in|out], would you agree that the interpreter should
continue using C std[in|out] to get commands? (this is the
current behavior without my patch)

The documentation for sys.std[in|out|err] seem to suggest
one should be able to redirect them, but I'm not sure that's
actually desirable.

(Your example only crashes if the interpreter is in
interactive mode.)

I've included another patch assuming this is the desired
behavior.  I tried several permutations of interactive vs
non-interactive, setting sys.stdin and/or sys.stdout to
None, and doing this before and after initializing readline.
msg38873 - (view) Author: Martin v. Löwis (loewis) * (Python committer) Date: 2002-10-26 14:44
Logged In: YES 

Thanks for the patch, committed as

pythonrun.h 2.55;
readline.c 2.54;
myreadline.c 2.28;
tokenizer.c 2.68;
bltinmodule.c 2.266;
NEWS 1.503;
ACKS 2.212

The limitation (interpreter continues to read from stdin)
seems reasonable.

msg392626 - (view) Author: Pierre (piwi) Date: 2021-05-01 20:08
I suggest to reopen this issue as there was a regression with python3.

import sys
sys.stdin = open("/dev/tty", "r")
import readline

Write some text and press left.
Expected: the cursor goes left.
Actual: prints '^[[D' as is readline had not been imported.

bltinmodule.c checks that the current sys.stdin filno matches the C stdin fileno. When they are different, it falls back to the default input implementation.

I noticed that PyFile_AsFile no longer exists. Would calling `fdopen` be acceptable?
msg393366 - (view) Author: Pierre (piwi) Date: 2021-05-10 08:30
Please, let me know if I should re-open a new bug for this one.
msg393561 - (view) Author: Pierre (piwi) Date: 2021-05-13 07:34
A workaround consists in replacing fd(0) with /dev/tty without modifying sys.stdin

import os

stdin = os.dup(0)
tty ="/dev/tty", os.O_RDONLY)
assert tty == 0

import readline
print("input:", input())
print("in:",, 128))
Date User Action Args
2022-04-10 16:04:56adminsetgithub: 36029
2021-05-13 07:34:41piwisetmessages: + msg393561
2021-05-10 08:30:56piwisetmessages: + msg393366
2021-05-01 20:08:59piwisetversions: + Python 3.6, Python 3.7, Python 3.8, Python 3.9, Python 3.10, Python 3.11
nosy: + piwi

messages: + msg392626

type: behavior
2002-02-04 21:42:13agthorrcreate