[IronPython] Ironclad problem, with which someone here may be able to help

William Reade william at resolversystems.com
Wed Nov 5 13:57:37 CET 2008

Hi all

While running the numpy tests, I've come across a situation which, to 
the best of my knowledge, is simply impossible. I'm hoping that one of 
the local .NET gurus will be able to tell me what I'm missing, or point 
me somewhere I can get more insight.

The 4 methods involved are as follows:
        public int GetThreadId()
            return Thread.CurrentThread.ManagedThreadId;

        public void WriteFlush(string info)

        public void EnsureGIL()
                "EnsureGIL ({1}) {0}", this.GetThreadId(), 

        public void ReleaseGIL()
                "ReleaseGIL ({1}) {0}\n", this.GetThreadId(), 
...and they can, and do, occasionally produce output as follows:
EnsureGIL (443) 2
EnsureGIL (443) 1      <- omg, wtf, bbq, etc.
ReleaseGIL (443) 2

EnsureGIL (443) 2
ReleaseGIL (443) 1

ReleaseGIL (443) 2
When this happens, the process continues happily for a short time and 
then falls over in a later call to ReleaseGIL (after successfully 
calling it several times). The error is " Object synchronization method 
was called from an unsynchronized block of code", which I understand to 
mean "you can't release this lock because you don't hold it".

It doesn't happen very often, but I can usually reproduce it by running 
test_multiarray.TestFromToFile.test_malformed a few hundred times. It 
may be relevant to note that thread 2 is the GC thread, and thread 1 is 
the main thread. I have considered the following possibilities:

(1) That I'm locking on the wrong object. I believe that isn't the case, 
because it's constructed only once, as a "new Object()" (ie, a reference 
type), and is only subsequently used for locking; and, because it keeps 
the same ipy id throughout.

(2) That Monitor.Enter occasionally allows two different threads to 
acquire the same lock. I consider this extremely unlikely, because... 
well, how many multithreaded .NET apps already exist? If Monitor really 
were broken, I think we'd probably know about it by now.

(3) That calling Flush() on a SyncTextWriter (the type of Console.Out) 
doesn't actually do anything, and the output is somehow wrongly ordered 
(although I can't imagine how this could actually be: if the locking is 
really working, then my console writes are strictly sequential). I don't 
have access to the code, so I have no idea how it's implemented, but 
even if this is the case it doesn't help much with the fundamental 
problem (the synchronisation error which follows).

Apart from the above, I'm out of ideas. Can anyone suggest what I've missed?


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