[Python-Dev] Tackling circular dependencies in 2.0?

Greg Ward gward@cnri.reston.va.us
Mon, 20 Sep 1999 13:53:03 -0400

> Not knowing anything much about memory
> management, would it be possible to have a sort of mixed ref count/garbage
> collection system where you only use the gc stuff as a last resort?  My
> thought is that it would be useful to use gc to find and reclaim circular
> garbage.

That's *sorta* what Perl does, 'though you can still be bitten by
circular refs in a long-running process.  Err, long-running thread.  You 
see, Perl has a mark-and-sweep garbage collector which is run only on
thread shutdown.

From the "perlobj" man page:

     [code sample omitted because I'm sure many python-dev readers
     automatically filter out any message that matches /[\$\@\%]\w+/
     it's just a constructor that creates objects for a recursive data

     If you create nodes like that, they (currently) won't go
     away unless you break their self reference yourself.  (In
     other words, this is not to be construed as a feature, and
     you shouldn't depend on it.)


     When an interpreter thread finally shuts down (usually when
     your program exits), then a rather costly but complete
     mark-and-sweep style of garbage collection is performed, and
     everything allocated by that thread gets destroyed.  This is
     essential to support Perl as an embedded or a
     multithreadable language.  For example, this program
     demonstrates Perl's two-phased garbage collection:

     [more interesting code omitted]

Interesting idea, but I don't think it's what Skip had in mind.

Greg Ward - software developer                    gward@cnri.reston.va.us
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