Q on explicitly calling file.close

Tim Chase python.list at tim.thechases.com
Sat Sep 5 22:04:55 CEST 2009

> CPython uses reference counting, so an object is garbage collected as
> soon as there are no references to it, but that's just an implementation
> detail.
> Other implementations, such as Jython and IronPython, don't use
> reference counting, so you don't know when an object will be garbage
> collected, which means that the file might remain open for an unknown
> time afterwards in case 1 above.
> Most people use CPython, so it's not surprising that case 1 is so
> common.

Additionally, many scripts just use a small number of files (say, 
1-5 files) so having a file-handle open for the duration of the 
run it minimal overhead.

On the other hand, when processing thousands of files, I always 
explicitly close each file to make sure I don't exhaust some 
file-handle limit the OS or interpreter may enforce.


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