[Python-Dev] Mysterious Python pyc file corruption problems
brett at python.org
Thu May 16 23:43:46 CEST 2013
On Thu, May 16, 2013 at 5:40 PM, Guido van Rossum <gvanrossum at gmail.com> wrote:
> I still suspect this might explain most of what Barry saw, if not all.
Quite possible, especially since he is seeing more issues on 3.2 than
3.3. Just wanted to fill people in on how 3.3 onwards does things is
> Sent from Mailbox
> On Thu, May 16, 2013 at 2:36 PM, Brett Cannon <brett at python.org> wrote:
>> On Thu, May 16, 2013 at 5:19 PM, Guido van Rossum <guido at python.org>
>> > This reminds me of the following bug, which can happen when two
>> > processes are both writing the .pyc file and a third is reading it.
>> > First some background.
>> > When writing a .pyc file, we use the following strategy:
>> > - open the file for writing
>> > - write a dummy header (four null bytes)
>> > - write the .py file's mtime
>> > - write the marshalled code object
>> > - replace the dummy heaer with the correct magic word
>> Just so people know, this is how we used to do it. In importlib we
>> write the entire file to a temp file and then to an atomic rename.
>> > Even py_compile.py (used by compileall.py) uses this strategy.
>> py_compile as of Python 3.4 now just uses importlib directly, so it
>> matches its semantics.
>> > When reading a .pyc file, we ignore it when the magic word isn't there
>> > (or when the mtime doesn't match that of the .py file exactly), and
>> > then we will write it back like described above.
>> > Now consider the following scenario. It involves *three* processes.
>> > - Two unrelated processes both start and want to import the same module.
>> > - They both see the .pyc file is missing/corrupt and decide to write it.
>> > - The first process finishing writing the file, writing the correct
>> > header.
>> > - Now a third process wants to import the module, sees the valid
>> > header, and starts reading the file.
>> > - However, while this is going on, the second process gets ready to
>> > write the file.
>> > - The second process truncates the file, writes the dummy header, and
>> > then stalls.
>> > - At this point the third process (which thought it was reading a
>> > valid file) sees an unexpected EOF because the file has been
>> > truncated.
>> > Now, this would explain the EOFError, but not necessarily the
>> > ValueError with "unknown type code". However, it looks like marshal
>> > doesn't always check for EOF immediately (sometimes it calls getc()
>> > without checking the result, and sometimes it doesn't check the error
>> > state after calling r_string()), so I think all the errors are
>> > actually explainable from this scenario.
>> > --
>> > --Guido van Rossum (python.org/~guido)
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