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Author steve.dower
Recipients brett.cannon, eric.snow, eryksun, jkloth, lukasz.langa, mattip, ncoghlan, paul.moore, steve.dower, tim.golden, zach.ware
Date 2019-03-12.15:15:02
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Marked as misclassified Yes
Message-id <>
> That will require rewriting many scripts and packages that use ctypes or cffi
> to load DLLs. It would also break DLLs that internally rely on modifying PATH
> for a delayed load, though I hope that's uncommon. I think it's easier for
> everyone else if we implement this just for extension-module loading with the
> LoadLibraryExW flags.

Only if they're loading them via PATH. If they're using full paths they'll be fine, and if they're using system DLLs they'll be fine. In both cases, the fix will work (better) with existing versions.

> Also, if I'm understanding your intention, loading an extension may fail when
> Python is embedded if the process is using the legacy DLL search path.

That's true. "import" will always use the secure flags, and so if you were relying on PATH to locate dependencies of the extension module (note that extension modules themselves are loaded by full path, so it doesn't apply to them), you need to stop doing that.

> Also, at runtime we can raise a SystemError if AddDllDirectory isn't found via
> GetProcAddress. This supports portable Python installations.

This adds a lot of complexity for very old Windows 7 installs. I'm not inclined to care that much for them - installing security updates isn't a big ask for a nearly EOL operating system.

> Correct me if I'm wrong, but once SetDefaultDllDirectories() is used, there is
> no going back: PATH no longer can change the search path no matter what flags
> are used with LoadLibrary* calls

Correct. But this is already the case if your sysadmin has enabled certain policies or if you're running via Store Python. So you can't rely on PATH anyway.

> Why is this CPython-specific and "private"? It seems like
> * it should be a public interface, used by all implementations consistently,
> as a policy decision for the win32 platform and documented as such

Not every implementation has to support Windows. We can certainly recommend that those that do copy it, but I'm not going to force MicroPython to declare an exception from a standard Python API.

> * located in os, much like os.environ (not critical)

Fair point. It can go into os. :)

> There should be some kind of debugging tool for when LoadLibraryEx fails, to
> indicate what might have gone wrong, perhaps os.getdlldirectory() would be
> helpful

I'd love to have this. Now someone just has to invent one that can be used from Python :) It's unrelated to this discussion - in fact, this change will make it so that you get the failure on _all_ machines, not just on some random user's machine.

We can't retrieve the true search path, only the ones that were added through an API that we control and making assumptions based on the documentation. I think this would be more of a distraction. The best way to diagnose actual LoadLibrary failures is to use a debugger, at which point simply getting the search paths doesn't add anything.

> This bothers me - how will backward compatibility work in that case?

The new search order is compatible with the old search order, so you can update all your layouts to have DLL dependencies in suitable locations and you'll be fine.

And if you're still writing code for Windows 7 with no security updates installed, Python 3.8 isn't going to save you anyway.

> I really have no feel as to what practical impact there would be on an
> embedded application.

Since we're not going to change the default search directories for the entire process when embedding, the only practical impact is that your extension modules need to have their dependent DLLs either:
* in the system directory
* adjacent to the .pyd file
* in a directory added using AddDllDirectory

And if the embedding application is already calling SetDefaultDllDirectories, as has been recommended for years, then they're already experiencing this change and won't have to update a thing.
Date User Action Args
2019-03-12 15:15:03steve.dowersetrecipients: + steve.dower, brett.cannon, paul.moore, ncoghlan, tim.golden, jkloth, lukasz.langa, eric.snow, zach.ware, mattip, eryksun
2019-03-12 15:15:03steve.dowersetmessageid: <>
2019-03-12 15:15:03steve.dowerlinkissue36085 messages
2019-03-12 15:15:02steve.dowercreate