[Python-Dev] Py_CLEAR to avoid crashes

Amaury Forgeot d'Arc amauryfa at gmail.com
Mon Feb 18 17:48:57 CET 2008

Neil Schemenauer wrote:
> Nick Coghlan <ncoghlan at gmail.com> wrote:
> > The problem is calls to Py_DECREF(self->attr) where some of the code
> > invoked by __del__ manages to find a way back around to reference
> > self->attr and gets access to a half-deleted object.
> Don't you mean "__del__ manages to find a way back around to self"?
> If so, how can that happen?  If such a reference path exists, the
> reference count of self should not be zero.  I don't understand why
> Py_CLEAR is necessary outside of tp_clear functions.

Of course we are speaking of different objects.

For example, in exception.c, BaseException_init() starts with the instruction:
this may call __del__ on self->args, which can execute arbitrary
python code - including access to the now-invalid "args" member of the

class S:
  def __del__(self):
     print e.args

e = BaseException(1, S())
e.__init__("hello")   # segfault

Amaury Forgeot d'Arc

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