How to stop subprocesses from copying listening sockets

Rick van Hattem Rick at
Fri Dec 26 03:24:49 CET 2008

Hi everyone,

Recently I've started building a program that spawns new processes when 
requested via http, since the http interface doesn't need to be fancy I've 
just used the BaseHTTPServer module for this, but... it seems I'm running 
into a little problem. When spawning a new process (which forks itself into a 
daemon, but isn't too relevant in this case) the listening socket is copied 
to the new process. Evidently this results in the base process not being able 
to restart since the new spawned process starts listening on the port.

Here's a simple example of what I mean.
Assuming we've got the server like this:
import subprocess
import BaseHTTPServer

server = BaseHTTPServer.HTTPServer(('', 1234),

subprocess.Popen(['python', ''])

With being this:
import time

And we run the main server and kill it after that (i.e. using netstat to find 
the PID), we'll see that the new process which does nothing besides wait for 
60 second will listen on port 1234 (use netstat to confirm).

Anyone has an idea on how to circumvent this issue?

Kind regards,

Rick van Hattem

PS: tested both on Fedora 8 using Python 2.5.1 and Gentoo Linux 2008 using 
Python 2.5.2

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