Guido van Rossum email@example.com wrote:
On Thu, Mar 19, 2009 at 4:12 PM, Mark Seaborn firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Guido van Rossum email@example.com wrote:
Guido said, "I don't understand where the function object f gets its magic powers".
The answer is that function definitions directly inside class statements are treated specially by the verifier.
Hm, this sounds like a major change in language semantics, and if I were Sun I'd sue you for using the name "Python" in your product. :-)
Damn, the makers of Typed Lambda Calculus had better watch out for legal action from the makers of Lambda Calculus(tm) too... :-) Is it really a major change in semantics if it's just a subset? ;-)
Well yes. The empty subset is also a subset. :-)
As a side note, it is interesting to compare CapPython to ECMAScript 3.1's strict mode, which, as I understand it, changes the semantics of ECMAScript's attribute access such that doing X.A when X does not have an attribute A raises an exception rather than returning undefined.
Fortunately CapPython does not have to make this kind of semantic change.
However, CPython's restricted execution mode (which Tav is proposing to resurrect) does change the semantics of attribute access. It's not yet clear to me how this works, and how it applies to the getattr function. I suspect it involves looking up the stack.
More seriously, IIUC you are disallowing all use of attribute names starting with underscores, which not only invalidates most Python code in practical use (though you might not care about that) but also disallows the use of many features that are considered part of the language, such as access to __dict__ and many other introspective attributes.
This is true. I'm not claiming that a lot of Python code will pass the verifier. It might not accept all idiomatic code; I'm just claiming that code using encapsulated objects under CapPython can still be idiomatic.
We could probably allow reading self.__dict__ safely in CapPython.
The term "introspection" covers a lot of language features. Some are OK in an object-capability language and some are not.
For example, some might consider dir() to be an introspective feature, and this function is fine if suitably wrapped.
x.__class__.__name__ is a common idiom. Although we can't allow x.__class__ on its own, we could provide a get_class_name function and rewrite "x.__class__.__name__" to "get_class_name(x)".
"type(x) is C" is another common idiom. Again, CapPython doesn't provide type() but it can provide a type_is() function: def type_is(x, t): return type(x) is t
The "locals" builtin is not something CapPython can allow in general. Any function that can look up the stack in this way is potentially dangerous. But it might be OK to allow "locals()", i.e. the case where "locals" is called as a function and not used as a first class value. I would prefer not to have to do that though.
To some extent the verifier's check of only accessing private attributes through self is just checking a coding style that I already follow when writing Python code (except sometimes for writing test cases).
You might wish this to be true, but for most Python programmers, it isn't. Introspection is a commonly-used part of the language (probably more so than in Java). So is the use of attribute names starting with a single underscore outside the class tree, e.g. by "friend" functions.
The friend function pattern is an example of something that CapPython could support, with some extra notation in order to make it explicit. It is a case of what is known as rights amplification in capability systems.
Here's an example of how I envisage it would work in CapPython:
class C(object): def _get_foo(self): return self._foo _get_foo = C._get_foo
Although C._get_foo would normally be rejected, the verifier would allow reading C._get_foo immediately after the class definition as a special case. The resulting _get_foo function would only be able to operate on instances of C (assuming the presence of unbound methods in the language).
Of course some of the verifier's checks, such as only allowing attribute assignments through self, are a lot more draconian than coding style checks.
That also sounds like a rather serious hindrance to writing Python as most people think of it.
Attribute assignment is something that we could handle by rewriting. For example,
x.y = z
could be rewritten to
x's class definition would have to declare that attribute y is assignable. The problem with attribute assignment in Python as it stands is that it is opt-out. Attributes can be made read-only (by using "property" or defining __setattr__), but this is not the default.
Whether these function definitions are accepted by the verifier depends on their context.
But this isn't.
Are you saying that the verifier accepts the use of self._foo in a method?
That would make the scenario of potentially passing a class defined by Alice into Bob's code much harder to verify -- now suddenly Alice has to know about a lot of things before she can be sure that she doesn't leave open a backdoor for Bob.
In most cases Alice would not want Bob to extend classes that she has defined, so she would not give Bob access to the unwrapped class objects. She would just give Bob the constructor. If Alice wants to be sure that she does that, she can add a decorator to all her class definitions:
def constructor_only(klass): def wrapper(*args, **kwargs): return klass(*args, **kwargs) return wrapper
@constructor_only class C(object): ...
(However, this assumes that class decorators are available, and CapPython does not support Python 2.6 yet.)
The default environment doesn't provide the real getattr() function. It provides a wrapped version that rejects private attribute names.
Do you have a web page describing the precise list of limitations you apply in your "subset" of Python?
I started some wiki pages to explain the verifier rules and which builtins are allowed, blocked or wrapped: http://plash.beasts.org/wiki/CapPython/VerifierRules http://plash.beasts.org/wiki/CapPython/Builtins I hope that will make things clearer.
Does it support import of some form?
Yes, it supports import: http://lackingrhoticity.blogspot.com/2008/09/dealing-with-modules-and-builti...
The safeeval module allows callers to provide their own __import__ function when evalling code.