[Python-Dev] Issue #8863 adds a new PYTHONNOFAULTHANDLER environment variable

Victor Stinner victor.stinner at haypocalc.com
Sun Dec 19 23:32:03 CET 2010

Le samedi 18 décembre 2010 à 13:55 -0500, Alexander Belopolsky a écrit :
> I am -1 on the feature as written.  I would be -0 if it did not
> install signal handlers by default and even better was implemented in
> a separate module, not in core.

I think that the feature is useless if it is disabled by default. How do
you know that you application will crash? The idea is to give
informations to the user when an application crashs: the user can use
the backtrace or send it to the developer. Segmentation faults are
usually not (easilly) reproductible :-( So even if you enable the fault
handler, you may not be able to replay the crash. Or even worse, the
fault may not occurs at all when you enable the fault handler...

> This feature is similar to the one that is implemented by R and with
> R, it was always a problem when R was embedded as a library.

Which kind of problem? A conflict with an existing fault handler?

> It has always been a welcome feature of Python that its core did 
> not mess with the application global state.

What do mess the application global state?

> Before this is approved, I would like to see a discussion of the
> consequences for embedded Python

I suppose that if a fault occurs outside Python, the fault handler
displays an irrevelent or empty Python backtrace.

The fault handler is installed by Py_InitializeEx(), and uninstalled by

If the program has its own fault handler or doesn't want Python fault
handler, it can set PYTHONNOFAULTHANDLER environment variable. Should we
add a C function to the Python API to configure (disable) the fault

I only know *two* applications catching faults: Mplayer and aMule. I
don't think that they embed Python. If they do, I think that these *two*
applications can do something special. Since there are only two
applications having their own fault handler, I don't think that we
should disable the fault handler by default.

(System wide fault handler, like Apport on Ubuntu, can be configured
system wide by setting the PYTHONNOFAULTHANDLER environment variable)

> and particularly for the case when there are multiple interpreters 
> in the same process.

What? Is it a myth or does Python really support multiple interpreters
in the same process? How is it possible? Who uses this?

_Py_DumpBacktrace() function (of my patch) uses
_Py_atomic_load_relaxed(&_PyThreadState_Current) to get the current
thread state. I picked up this instruction from PyThreadState_Get(). If
it doesn't work, PyThreadState_Get() should be fixed too.


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