Something that Perl can do that Python can't?

Andrew Dalke dalke at
Sat Jul 23 01:49:41 CEST 2005

Dr. Who wrote:
> Well, I finally managed to solve it myself by looking at some code.
> The solution in Python is a little non-intuitive but this is how to get
> it:
> while 1:
>     line = stdout.readline()
>     if not line:
>         break
>     print 'LINE:', line,
> If anyone can do it the more Pythonic way with some sort of iteration
> over stdout, please let me know.

Python supports two different but related iterators over
lines of a file.  What you show here is the oldest way.
It reads up to the newline (or eof) and returns the line.

The newer way is

  for line in stdout:

which is equivalent to

  _iter = iter(stdout)
  while 1:
      line =
    except StopIteration:


The file.__iter__() is implemented by doing
a block read and internally breaking the block
into lines.  This make the read a lot faster
because it does a single system call for the
block instead of a system call for every
character read.  The downside is that the read
can block (err, a different use of "block")
waiting for enough data.

If you want to use the for idiom and have
the guaranteed "no more than a line at a time"
semantics, try this 

  for line in iter(stdout.readline, ""):
    print "LINE:", line

				dalke at

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