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Author hvbargen
Date 2007-02-19.10:17:38
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If the value of sysconf("SC_OPEN_MAX") is high
and you try to start a subprocess with or os.popen2 with close_fds=True, then starting the other process is very slow.
This boils down to the following code in
        def _close_fds(self, but):
            for i in xrange(3, MAXFD):
                if i == but:

resp. the similar code in
    def _run_child(self, cmd):
        if isinstance(cmd, basestring):
            cmd = ['/bin/sh', '-c', cmd]
        for i in xrange(3, MAXFD):
            except OSError:

There has been an optimization already (range has been replaced by xrange to reduce memory impact), but I think the problem is that for high values of MAXFD, usually a high percentage of the os.close statements will fail, raising an exception (which is an "expensive" operation).
It has been suggested already to add a C implementation called "rclose" or "close_range" that tries to close all FDs in a given range (min, max) without the overhead of Python exception handling.

I'd like emphasize that this is not a theoretical, but a real world problem:
We have a Python application in a production environment on Sun Solaris. Some other software running on the same server needed a high value of 260000 for SC_OPEN_MAX (set with ulimit -n XXX or in some /etc/-file (don't know which one).
Suddenly calling any other process with subprocess.Popen (..., close_fds=True) now took 14 seconds (!) instead of some microseconds.
This caused a huge performance degradation, since the subprocess itself only needs only  a few seconds.

See also:
Patches item #1607087 "popen() slow on AIX due to large FOPEN_MAX value".
This contains a fix, but only for AIX - and I think the patch does not support the "but" argument used in
The correct solution should be coded in C, and should
do the same as the _close_fds routine in
It could be optimized to make use of (operating-specific) system calls to close all handles from (but+1) to MAX_FD with "closefrom" or "fcntl" as proposed in the patch.
Date User Action Args
2007-08-23 14:52:00adminlinkissue1663329 messages
2007-08-23 14:52:00admincreate