Mark Hammond MHammond at
Mon Jun 28 21:16:29 EDT 1999

Gerrit Holl wrote in message <19990628105921.A26266 at optiplex.palga.uucp>...

>> can be <wink>.  It generally seems to mean something bad and unexpected
>> happened, but not bad enough to shut down the interpreter (things *that*
>> raise SystemError).

Actually, I dare to correct Tim on this point.  SystemErrors typically will
_not_ shutdown the interpreter (they used to, but not any more!)

>Ah, I understand. But what kind of things are bad enough to raise
>core dump?

My take is this:  RuntimeError is raised in a situation that could not
reasonably have been predicted by the programmer (eg, someone deleting
sys.stdout).  A SystemError OTOH usually means an internal Python error
(Python or an extension).  The most common example of a SystemError that I
see is when an extension module returns NULL but doesnt set a Python
exception - ie, a bug that needs to be fixed by the original programmer, and
nothing the end user could do would prevent this. (roughly speaking, of
course :-)

A core dump is unfortunately (or fortunately depending on your POV) not
mapped to a Python exception.


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