Thanks Simon.

Thanks for the extensive info; however it needs some hours (if not days :P) to be digested.

On Tue, Dec 25, 2012 at 9:24 PM, Simon McVittie <> wrote:
On 24/12/12 08:26, Ajay Garg wrote:
> For a recap of the brief history, I have a parent process, that is
> spawning  a child process via "subprocess".
> Currently, the child-process is a GUI process; however, I intend to
> "behave" it as a dbus-service as well.

In general that is something that can work, but it's necessary to
understand a bit about how main loops work, and how the modules of your
process deal with a main loop.

Just saying "GUI" is not very informative: there are dozens of GUI
frameworks that you might be using, each with their own requirements and
oddities. If you say Gtk, or Qt, or Tk, or Windows MFC, or whatever
specific GUI framework you're using, then it becomes possible to say
something concrete about your situation.

Based on later mails in the thread you seem to be using Gtk.

I should note here that you seem to be using PyGtk (the "traditional"
Gtk 2 Python binding), which is deprecated. The modern version is to use
PyGI, the Python GObject-Introspection binding, and Gtk 3.

When using PyGI, you have a choice of two D-Bus implementations: either
GDBus (part of gi.repository.GIO), or dbus-python ("import dbus"). I
would recommend GDBus, since dbus-python is constrained by backwards
compatibility with some flawed design decisions.

However, assuming you're stuck with dbus-python:

> I then used composition, wherein another  class, "RemoteListener"
> deriving  from "dbus.service.Object" was made an attribute of the "main"
> class. That worked.
> However, when  I do
>                dbus.mainloop.glib.DBusGMainLoop(set_as_default=True)
> in the "RemoteListener"'s __init__ method, the GUI of the "main" class
> fails to load (apparently, because the "" causes the
> singular, main-thread to go into busy-wait).

Almost; it's not a busy-wait. is the equivalent
of this pseudocode:

    def run(self):
        while not global_default_main_context.someone_has_called_quit:
            if global_default_main_context.has_more_events():

so it will loop until someone calls GObject.mainloop.quit() or
equivalent, or forever if that never happens - but as long as nothing
"interesting" happens, it will block on a poll() or select() syscall in
what my pseudocode calls wait_for_an_event(), which is the right thing
to do in event-driven programming like GLib/Gtk.

(If you replace the last line of my pseudocode with "continue", that
would be a busy-wait.)

> I tried option b), but now instantiating "RemoteListener" in a separate
> thread

It is unclear whether the dbus-glib main loop glue (as set up by
DBusGMainLoop) is thread-safe or not. The safest assumption is always
"if you don't know whether foo is thread-safe, it probably isn't". In
any case, if it *is* thread-safe, the subset of it that's exposed
through dbus-python isn't enough to use it in multiple threads.

GDBus, as made available via PyGI (specifically, gi.repository.GIO), is
known to be thread-safe.

> Is there a way to run GUI and a dbus-service together?

The general answer: only if either the GUI and the D-Bus code
run in different threads, or if they run in the same thread and can be
made to share a main context.

The specific answer for Gtk: yes, they can easily share a main context.


> dbus.mainloop.glib.DBusGMainLoop(set_as_default=True)

sets up dbus-python's mainloop integration to integrate with the global
default main-context in GLib (implementation detail: it currently uses
dbus-glib to do that). What that means is that whenever a D-Bus
connection started by dbus-python wants to listen for events on a
socket, or wait for a timeout, it will ask GLib to add those to the
global default main context as event sources.



iterates GLib's global default main context, analogous to the pseudocode
I mentioned before. Any "interesting" events that happen will cause your
code to be executed.

A typical GUI application also needs to run the main loop to
wait for events. In PyGtk, you'd typically do that with:

> Gtk.main()

Gtk also uses GLib's global default main context, so this is pretty
similar to - if you just remove the call to and use Gtk.main() instead, everything should be

> As per
> gobjectmainloop.html, it seems that we must be able to add event
> sources to gobject.mainloop

Yes. For instance, gobject.timeout_add(), gobject.idle_add() and
gobject.io_add_watch() all add event sources to the default main context.

dbus.mainloop.glib.DBusGMainLoop(set_as_default=True) tells dbus-python
that when it needs to add an event source to "the" main loop, it should
use equivalent C functions in GLib to do so.

(In principle, DBusGMainLoop ought to take a GObject.MainContext as an
optional argument - but that's never been implemented, and it currently
always uses the default main context, which is the same one Gtk uses,
and which should only be iterated from the main thread.)

> Once the event sources are added, each instance of gobject.mainloop
> (in its particular thread), will cater  to only those sources.

No, that's not true; gobject.mainloop is a namespace for a set of global
functions, not an object. If you must use multiple threads (not
recommended), please see the GLib C API documentation for details of how
main loops and main contexts relate, then the PyGtk documentation to see
how that translates into Python.

> How is dbus."mainloop.glib.DBusGMainLoop(set_as_default=True)"
> related to gobject.mainloop?

It instantiates a new DBusGMainLoop and sets it as dbus-python's global
default main-loop-integration object. (With hindsight, DBusGMainLoop was
a poor choice of name - it should have been DBusGMainIntegration or
something.) The result is that whenever a new dbus.connection.Connection
is instantiated, it will call methods on that DBusGMainLoop to connect
its event sources up to the default GLib main context, which is the same
one used by Gtk.

dbus.bus.BusConnection, dbus.Bus, dbus.SessionBus etc. are
dbus.connection.Connection subclasses, so anything I say about
dbus.connection.Connection applies equally to them.

> How is dbus."mainloop.glib.DBusGMainLoop(set_as_default=False)"
> related to gobject.mainloop?

It instantiates a new DBusGMainLoop and doesn't use it for anything. If
you save the returned DBusGMainLoop in a variable (e.g.
my_dbus_g_main_loop = DBusGMainLoop(...)), then you can pass a keyword
argument mainloop=my_dbus_g_main_loop to a dbus.connection.Connection
constructor, and that dbus.connection.Connection will use that
DBusGMainLoop instead of dbus-python's global default. In practice, only
a very unusual application would need to do that.

There is currently no point in having more than one DBusGMainLoop; it
would become useful if dbus-glib was thread-safe, and if dbus-python
supported non-default GLib main-contexts.

> Is it necessary at all to specify
> "mainloop.glib.DBusGMainLoop(set_as_default=True)" or
> "mainloop.glib.DBusGMainLoop(set_as_default=False)" when using
> gobject.mainloop?

Yes. Otherwise, dbus-python has no way to know that your application is
going to be iterating the GLib main loop, as opposed to Qt or Tk or
Enlightenment or something.

> currently for the client, I am having the (client) (parent) process
> run the command "dbus-send" via the python-subprocess  API.
> Does there exist a python API to do it in a cleaner manner?

Yes, either dbus-python or GDBus. Each of those can do everything
dbus-send can, and more.

For a start, could you please point me to the paradigm to send a dbus-signal from the client to the server (where the server has the "add_to_signal_receiver" been set up).

From the limited googling that I did, I remember someone saying that for sending a signal, the typical setting-up-of-a-proxy-object is not required; however, I could not hit upon the exact dbus-python mechanism to send a signal :-\


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