[Python-Dev] Inconsistency of PyModule_AddObject()
storchaka at gmail.com
Wed Apr 27 03:14:41 EDT 2016
There are three functions (or at least three documented functions) in C
API that "steals" references: PyList_SetItem(), PyTuple_SetItem() and
PyModule_AddObject(). The first two "steals" references even on failure,
and this is well known behaviour. But PyModule_AddObject() "steals" a
reference only on success. There is nothing in the documentation that
points on this. Most usages of PyModule_AddObject() in the stdlib don't
decref the reference to the value on PyModule_AddObject() failure. The
only exceptions are in _json, _io, and _tkinter modules. In many cases,
including examples in the documentation, the successfulness of
PyModule_AddObject() is not checked either, but this is different issue.
We can just fix the documentation but adding a note that
PyModule_AddObject() doesn't steal a reference on failure. And add
explicit decrefs after PyModule_AddObject() in hundreds of places in the
But I think it would be better to "fix" PyModule_AddObject() by making
it decrefing a reference on failure as expected by most developers. But
this is dangerous change, because if the author of third-party code read
not only the documentation, but CPython code, and added explicit decref
on PyModule_AddObject() failure, we will get a double decrefing.
I think that we can resolve this issue by following steps:
1. Add a new function PyModule_AddObject2(), that steals a reference
even on failure.
2. Introduce a special macro like PY_SSIZE_T_CLEAN (any suggestions
about a name?). If it is defined, define PyModule_AddObject as
PyModule_AddObject2. Define this macro before including Python.h in all
CPython modules except _json, _io, and _tkinter.
3. Make old PyModule_AddObject to emit a warning about possible leak and
a suggestion to define above macro.
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