multiprocessing module and os.close(sys.stdin.fileno())

Joshua Judson Rosen rozzin at
Sun Feb 22 02:52:19 CET 2009

Graham Dumpleton <Graham.Dumpleton at> writes:
> On Feb 21, 4:20 pm, Joshua Judson Rosen <roz... at> wrote:
> > Jesse Noller <jnol... at> writes:
> >
> > > On Tue, Feb 17, 2009 at 10:34 PM, Graham Dumpleton
> > > <Graham.Dumple... at> wrote:
> > > > Why is the multiprocessing module, ie., multiprocessing/, in
> > > > _bootstrap() doing:
> >
> > > >  os.close(sys.stdin.fileno())
> >
> > > > rather than:
> >
> > > >  sys.stdin.close()
> >
> > > > Technically it is feasible that stdin could have been replaced with
> > > > something other than a file object, where the replacement doesn't have
> > > > a fileno() method.
> >
> > > > In that sort of situation an AttributeError would be raised, which
> > > > isn't going to be caught as either OSError or ValueError, which is all
> > > > the code watches out for.
> >
> > > I don't know why it was implemented that way. File an issue on the
> > > tracker and assign it to me (jnoller) please.
> >
> > My guess would be: because it's also possible for sys.stdin to be a
> > file that's open in read+*write* mode, and for that file to have
> > pending output buffered (for example, in the case of a socketfile).
> If you are going to have a file that is writable as well as readable,
> such as a socket, then likely that sys.stdout/sys.stderr are going to
> be bound to it at the same time.


> If that is the case then one should not be using close() at all

If you mean stdin.close(), then that's what I said :)

> as it will then also close the write side of the pipe and cause
> errors when code subsequently attempts to write to
> sys.stdout/sys.stderr.
> In the case of socket you would actually want to use shutdown() to
> close just the input side of the socket.

Sure--but isn't this "you" the /calling/ code that set the whole thing
up? What the /caller/ does with its stdio is up to /him/, and beyond
the scope of the present discourse. I can appreciate a library forking
and then using os.close() on stdio (it protects my files from any I/O
the subprocess might think it wants to do with them), but I think I
might be even more annoyed if it *shutdown my sockets* than if it
caused double-flushes (there's at least a possibility that I could
cope with the double-flushes by just ensuring that *I* flushed before
the fork--not so with socket.shutdown()!)

> What this all means is that what is the appropriate thing to do is
> going to depend on the environment in which the code is used. Thus,
> having the behaviour hard wired a certain way is really bad. There
> perhaps instead should be a way of a user providing a hook function to
> be called to perform any case specific cleanup of stdin, stdout and
> stderr, or otherwise reassign them.

Usually, I'd say that that's what the methods on the passed-in object
are for. Though, as I said--the file-object API is lacking, here :(

> > As such, I'd recommend against just using .close(); you might use
> > something like `if hasattr(sys.stdin, "fileno"): ...'; but, if your
> > `else' clause unconditionally calls sys.stdin.close(), then you still
> > have double-flush problems if someone's set sys.stdin to a file-like
> > object with output-buffering.
> >
> > I guess you could try calling that an `edge-case' and seeing if anyone
> > screams. It'd be sort-of nice if there was finer granularity in the
> > file API--maybe if file.close() took a boolean `flush' argument....

Don't be afraid to ask (Lf.((Lx.xx) (Lr.f(rr)))).

More information about the Python-list mailing list