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Author jvd66
Date 2004-12-21.21:02:40
SpamBayes Score
Marked as misclassified
On latest versions of Linux 
(eg. Red Hat FC2 / FC3, kernel 2.6+, glibc 2.3.3+)
it seems to be impossible to get a system call invoked
by Python 
to time out if it enters a blocking operation (eg read,
using Python's signal or threading modules.

A good example is 'gethostbyname' - if the network cable is
unplugged, or the name servers are not contactable, then 
a Python program will hang for a very long time (5
minutes by
default) before being able to proceed.

I've tried to do timeouts using either the signal module 
or using threading timers (see attached examples) - but
the signal handler is called when the SIGALRM is
received , and
the timer activates the callback, the main thread is
still blocked 
in gethostbyname and the whole process is blocked - so
cannot be implemented.   If anyone knows a better way
of getting
a blocking system call to timeout in python, please let
me know.
I've finally resorted to invoking the BIND 'dig'
program with 
timeout parameters from commands.getstatusoutput so my
app can recover from network connectivity problems. 

I think we need to be able to invoke the glibc
siginterrupt() function
from Python;  ONLY by doing so are signals allowed  to
system calls so that they return EINTR .  

Note that this differs from "old" Linux behaviour . The
man page states:
     " system calls will be restarted if interrupted by
the speci-
       fied signal sig.  This is the default  behaviour
 in  Linux.   
    " (this is true)
    "  However, when a new signal handler is specified
with the
       signal(2) function, the system call is
interrupted by default.
    "  ( THIS IS FALSE !) 
With modern Linux  kernels + glibcs,  all signals are
UNLESS the siginterrupt( sig, 1 ) call is invoked. 
This may be 
a glibc bug, but many glibcs out there have it.  This
can be reproduced using the attached c program -
without the
siginterrupt, the system call is not interrupted .

PLEASE provide a wrapper to call the siginterrupt(3)
glibc function from Python  - THANKS .

Date User Action Args
2007-08-23 14:28:37adminlinkissue1089358 messages
2007-08-23 14:28:37admincreate