Standard IPC for Python?

Philip Semanchuk philip at
Tue Jan 13 17:39:23 CET 2009

On Jan 13, 2009, at 11:25 AM, Laszlo Nagy wrote:

> I would like to develop some module for Python for IPC. Socket  
> programming howto recommends that for local communication, and I  
> personally experienced problems with TCP (see my previous post:  
> "Slow network").
> I was looking for semaphores and shared memory, but it is not in the  
> standard lib. I was also thinking about unix domain sockets, but it  
> is not available under windows.
> I was looking for non-standard modules as well, but only found a few  
> references with insufficient information. For example:
> The question is: what is the standard way to implement fast and  
> portable IPC with Python? Are there tools in the standard lib that  
> can do this?

They're not in the standard lib, but I have 3 modules for Python IPC.  
They're all Unix-only.

posix_ipc gives you semaphores, shared memory and messages queues:

sysv_ipc gives you semaphores and shared memory:

shm also gives access to SysV semaphores and shared memory:

The only reason to use shm over the sysv_ipc module is that shm  
supports versions of Python < 2.5. I'm not developing shm any further,  
so avoid using it if possible.

Here's an overview that compares the three:

The overview of the overview is that posix_ipc is the one to use if  
you can because it is the simplest. sysv_ipc is more broadly supported  
but is more complicated for programmer (me) and user (you) alike.

Bugs reports are of course welcome.



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