Anonymous file closing

Jeff surferjeff at
Fri Jun 11 21:08:47 CEST 2004

Duncan Booth <me at> wrote in message news:<Xns9505685D9AE0Cduncanrcpcouk at>...
> Sergey Krushinsky <lunarium at> wrote in 
> news:mailman.845.1086940793.6949.python-list at
> > Hello all,
> > 
> > If I need to read a string from a file and use syntax like:
> > text = open(filename, 'r').read()
> > ...
> > is the file object ever closed?
> > 
> > With best regards,
> > Sergey
> > 
> > 
> Yes it is closed, but it isn't well defined as to exactly when it is 
> closed. You can safely assume that the file will be closed sometime between 
> the read returning and your program exiting.
> If you aren't worried about portability, and you are using the C 
> implementation of Python then you may find it is closed immediately but it 
> is poor practice to depend on it.

This is true, but I recommend:

1. Only use the C implementation of Python, a.k.a. The Implementation.
2. Depend on the file being closed immediately in this case.  If the
authors of the C implementation ever changed this behavior, they would
break *lots* of existing python code, and they would also break one of
the nicest example of how Python just works.

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