[pypy-dev] Fatal RPython error: MemoryError

Armin Rigo arigo at tunes.org
Tue Aug 7 10:09:43 CEST 2012


I tried to debug it more precisely, and it seems that the problem is
even more basic than I thought.  It is very hard to solve in general.
The issue is that when we are really out of memory, then *every*
single allocation is going to fail.  The difference with CPython is
that in the same situation, the latter can still (randomly) satisfy a
small number of allocations of different sizes.  This is an internal
detail of how the memory allocators work.

What occurs then in PyPy is that when we are out of memory, we can
really not allocate any single object at more.  So we cannot even
execute anything from the "except MemoryError" block, because when
catching the exception, we try to allocate a small internal object ---
which re-raises MemoryError.  I tried to look if we would go anywhere
by making sure that no small internal object is allocated, but I doubt
it, because then it would crash in the first line (e.g. "size = size /
2", which of course allocates a new "long" object).  In the end you
get this "fatal RPython error: MemoryError" because even printing the
traceback requires some memory (and thus re-raises MemoryError

Generally, we have no hope to pass cleanly the test you gave.  Even in
CPython it works by chance; I can tweak it in "reasonable" ways and
have it fail too (e.g. if you need to do a bit more than "size = size
/ 2" here, then you're likely to get a MemoryError in the except
handler too).

So, I don't think this is ever going to be fixed (or fixable)...

A bientôt,


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