[Python-Dev] Socket timeout patch

Michael Gilfix mgilfix@eecs.tufts.edu
Mon, 3 Jun 2002 11:22:45 -0400

  Alrighty. Here's the monster reply. I'll be much faster with the
replies this week. Had a hectic week last week.

On Thu, May 23 @ 16:13, Guido van Rossum wrote:
> General style nits:
> - You submitted a reverse diff!  Customary is diff(old, new).

  Oops. Will fix that this time round.

> - Please don't put a space between the function name and the open
>   parenthesis.  (You do this both in C and in Python code.)

  Fixed. Some personal preference bled it there. All removed in
my copy.

> - Also please don't put a space between the open parenthesis and the
>   first argument (you do this almost consistently in test_timeout.py).

  Couldn't really figure out what you were seeing here. I read that
you saw something like func( a, b), which I don't see in my local
copy. I do have something like this for list comprehension:

    [ x.find('\n') for x in self._rbuf ]

  Er, but I though there were supposed to be surrounding spaces at the

> - Please don't introduce lines longer than 78 columns.

  Fixed my offending line. I've also corrected some other lines in
the socket module that went over 78 columns (there were a few).

> Feedback on the patch to socket.py:
> - I think you're changing the semantics of unbuffered and
>   line-buffered reads/writes on Windows.  For one thing, you no longer
>   implement line-buffered writes correctly.  The idea is that if the
>   buffer size is set to 1, data is flushed at \n only, so that if
>   the code builds up the line using many small writes, this doesn't
>   result in many small sends. There was code for this in write() --
>   why did you delete it?

  I screwed up the write. New the write is:

   def write(self, data):
        self._wbuf = self._wbuf + data
        if self._wbufsize == 1:
            if '\n' in data:
                self.flush ()
        elif len(self._wbuf) >= self._wbufsize:

  which is pretty much the same as the old. The read should be ok
though. I could really use someone with a win compiler to test this
for me.

> - It also looks like you've broken the semantics of size<0 in read().

  Maybe I'm misunderstanding the code, but I thought that a size < 0
meant to read until there are no more? The statement:

    while size < 0 or buf_len < size:

  accomplishes the same thing as what's in the current socket.py
implementation.  If you look closely, the 'if >= 0' branch *always* returns,
meaning that the < 0 is equiv to while 1. Due to shortcutting, the same
thing happens in the above statement. Maybe a comment would make it clearer?

> - Maybe changing the write buffer to a list makes sense too?

  I could do this. Then just do a join before the flush. Is the append
/that/ much faster?

> - Since this code appears independent from the timeoutsocket code,
>   maybe we can discuss this separately?

  The point of this code was to keep from losing data when an exception
occurs (as timothy, if I remember correctly, pointed out). Hence the reason
for keeping a lot more data around in instance variables instead of local
variables. So the windows version might (in obscure cases) be affected
by the timeout changes. That's what this patch was addressing.

> Feedback on the documentation:
> - I would document that the argument to settimeout() should be int or
>   float (hm, can it be a long?  that should be acceptable even if it's
>   strange), and that the return value of gettimeout() is None or a
>   float.

  It can be a long in my local copy. The argument can be any numeric
value and the special None. I've updated my documentation to be more

> - You may want to document the interaction with blocking mode.

  I've put notes in the tex documentation.  Here's how the interaction

    if the socket is in non-blocking mode:
      All operations are non-blocking and setting timeouts doesn't
      mean anything (they are not enforced). A timeout can still
      be changed and gettimeout will reflect the value but the
      exception will never be raised.
    else if the socket is in blocking mode:
      enabling timeouts does the usual thing you would expect from

> Feedback on the C socket module changes:
> - Why import the select module?  It's much more efficient to use the
>   select system call directly.  You don't need all the overhead and
>   generality that the select module adds on top of it, and it costs a
>   lot (select allocates lots of objects and lots of memory and hence
>   is very expensive).

  Well, the thinking was that if there were any portability issues with
select, they could be taken care of in one place. At the time, I hadn't
really looked closely at the select module. Now that I glance at it,
pretty much all the code in the select module just extracts the necessary
information from the objects for polling. I suppose I could just use
select directly... There's also the advantage of all the error handling
in select. I could do a stripped down version of the code, I suppose, for

speed. Seemed like a good idea for code re-use.
> - <errno.h> is already included by Python.h.

  I didn't do this but it's been removed.

> - Please don't introduce more static functions with a 'Py' name
>   prefix.

  Only did this in one place, with PyTimeout_Err. The reason was that the
other Error functions used the Py prefix, so it was done for consistency. I
can change that.. or change the naming scheme with the others if you like.

> - You should raise TypeError if the type of the argument is wrong, and
>   ValueError if the value is wrong (out of range).  Not SocketError.

  Oops. Fixed.

> - I believe that you can't reliably maintain a "sock_blocking" flag;
>   there are setsockopt() or ioctl() calls that can make a socket
>   blocking or non-blocking.  Also, there's no way to know whether a
>   socket passed to fromfd() is in blocking mode or not.

  Well, upon socket creation (in init_sockobject), the socket is
set to blocking mode. I think that handles fromfd, right? Doesn't
every initialization means have to call that function?

  The real problem would be someone using an ioctl or setsockopt (Can
you even do blocking stuff through setsockopt?). Ugh.  The original
timeoutsocket didn't really deal with anything like that.  Erm, seems like
an interface problem here - using ioctl kinda breaks the socket object
interface. Perhaps we should be doing some sort of getsockopt to figure out
the blocking mode and update our state accordingly? That would be an extra
call for each thing to the interface though.

  One solution is to set/unset blocking mode right before doing each
call to be sure of the state and based on the internally stored value
of the blocking attribute... but... then that kind of renders ioctl

  Another solution might be to set the blocking mode to on everytime someone
sets a timeout. That would change the blocking/socket interaction already
described a bit but not drastically. Also easy to implement.  That sends the
message: Don't use ioctls when using timeouts.

  Hmm.. Will need to think about this more. Any insight would be helpful or
some wisdom about how you usually handle this sort of thing.

> - There are refcount bugs.  I didn't do a detailed review of these,
>   but I note that the return value from PyFloat_FromDouble() in
>   PySocketSock_settimeout() is leaked.  (There's an INCREF that's only
>   needed for the None case.)

  This has been fixed. I was one ref count too high in my scheme.

> - The function internal_select() is *always* used like this:
>         count = internal_select (s, 1);
>         if (count < 0)
>                 return NULL;
>         else if (count ==  0) /* Timeout elapsed */
>                 return PyTimeout_Err ();
>   If internal_select() called PyTimeout_Err() itself, all call sites
>   could be simplified to this:
>         count = internal_select (s, 1);
>         if (count < 0)
>                 return NULL;
>   or even (now that the count variable is no longer needed) to this:
>         if(internal_select (s, 1) < 0)
>                 return NULL;

  Good point. Except the return value needs to be checked for <= 0
in this case. Changes were made.

> - The accept() wrapper contains this bit of code (only showing the
>   Unix variant):
> 	if (newfd < 0)
> 		if (!s->sock_blocking || (errno != EAGAIN && errno != EWOULDBLOCK))
> 			return s->errorhandler ();
>   Isn't the sense of testing s->sock_blocking wrong?  I would think
>   that if we're in blocking mode we'd want to return immediately
>   without even checking the errno.  I recommend writing this out more
>   clearly, e.g. like this:
>     if (s->sock_blocking)
>        return s->errorhandler();
>     /* A non-blocking accept() failed */
>     if (errno != EAGAIN && errno != EWOULDBLOCK)
>        return s->errorhandler();

  I've written this out more explicitly as you suggest. It is supposed to be
!s->sock_blocking though. If we're in non-blocking mode at that point with
an error, then it's definitely an error. If we're in blocking mode, then we
have to check the type of error. The reason being that the underlying socket
is always in non-blocking mode (remember select) so we need to check that we
don't have a weird error.

  I've written it out like this:

    if (newfd < 0) {
········if (!s->sock_blocking)
············return s->errorhandler();
········/* Check if we have a true failure for a blocking socket */
········if (errno != EAGAIN && errno != EWOULDBLOCK)
············return s->errorhandler();

  I've also fixed a similar thing for connect.

> - What is s->errorhandler() for?  AFAICT, this is always equal to
>   PySocket_Err!

  This was always in the module. Not sure why it was put there intially.
I used it to be consistent.

> - The whole interaction between non-blocking mode and timeout mode is
>   confusing to me.  Are you sure that this always does the right
>   thing?  Have you even thought about what "the right thing" is in all
>   4 combinations?

  I think I've explained this earlier in the thread. Lemme know if I need
any more clarifications.

  If you made it this far, it's time for coffee.

                     -- Mike

Michael Gilfix

For my gpg public key: