[New-bugs-announce] [issue11314] Subprocess suffers 40% process creation overhead penalty

Aaron Sherman report at bugs.python.org
Fri Feb 25 00:22:44 CET 2011

New submission from Aaron Sherman <ajs at ajs.com>:

I wrote some code a while back which used os.popen. I recently got a warning about popen being deprecated so I tried a test with the new subprocess module. In that test, subprocess.Popen appears to have a 40% process creation overhead penalty over os.popen, which really isn't small. It seems that the difference may be made up of some heavy mmap-related work that's happening in my version of python, and that might be highly platform specific, but the mmap/mremap/munmap calls being made in my sample subprocess code aren't being made at all in the os.popen equivalent.

Now, before someone says, "process creation is trivial, so a 40% hit is acceptable because it's 40% of a trivial part of your execution time," keep in mind that many Python applications are heavily process-creation focused. In my case that means monitoring, but I could also imagine this having a substantial impact on Web services and other applications that spend almost all of their time creating child processes. For a trivial script, subprocess is fine as is, but for these demanding applications, subprocess represents a significant source of pain.

Anyway my testing, results and conclusions are written up here:


components: Library (Lib)
messages: 129319
nosy: Aaron.Sherman
priority: normal
severity: normal
status: open
title: Subprocess suffers 40% process creation overhead penalty
type: resource usage
versions: Python 2.6, Python 2.7

Python tracker <report at bugs.python.org>

More information about the New-bugs-announce mailing list