multiple processes, private working directories

Cameron Simpson cs at
Thu Sep 25 04:03:13 CEST 2008

On 24Sep2008 18:27, Tim Arnold <a_jtim at> wrote:
| I have a bunch of processes to run and each one needs its own working
| directory. I'd also like to know when all of the processes are
| finished.
| (1) First thought was threads, until I saw that os.chdir was process-
| global.

Yep. But do you need separate working directories?
As opposed to having the thread state include a notional working
directory and constructing file paths within it.

| (2) Next thought was fork, but I don't know how to signal when each
| child is finished.

Open a pipe (os.pipe()). Have a parent process to track state.

Fork each child.

In each child: close the read end of the pipe. Do stuff. When finished,
close the write end of the pipe.

In the parent, after forking all children: close the write end of the
pipe. Read from the read end. When all the children have finished
they will have closed all the write ends and you will see EOF
on the read end of the pipe.

For extra credit you can have the children write some sort of
success/failure byte to the pipe before closing. Counting and examinine
these bytes in the parent can tell you about individual failure if you

| (3) Current thought is to break the process from a method into a
| external
| script; call the script in separate threads.  This is the only way I
| can see
| to give each process a separate dir (external process fixes that), and
| I can
| find out when each process is finished (thread fixes that).

Yeah, that'll work:

  for child in 1 2 3 4 5 6 ...
    mkdir workdir
    ( cd work-dir; run-child ) &

| Am I missing something? Is there a better way? I hate to rewrite this
| method
| as a script since I've got a lot of object metadata that I'll have to
| regenerate with each call of the script.

See the pipe scheme in point (2) above. Doubtless there are other
methods, but pipes are each shared resources with the right behaviour.
I'd prefer method (1) myself, assuming you have control of the working
file paths.

Cameron Simpson <cs at> DoD#743

If everyone is thinking alike, then someone isn't thinking.     - Patton

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