subprocess.Popen calling httpd reload never finishes

Nan ringemup at
Wed Aug 18 15:58:27 CEST 2010

On Aug 17, 8:14 pm, Albert Hopkins <mar... at> wrote:
> On Tue, 2010-08-17 at 12:55 -0700, Nan wrote:
> > Hi folks --
> > I have a Python script running under Apache/mod_wsgi that needs to
> > reload Apache configs as part of its operation.  The script continues
> > to execute after the subprocess.Popen call.  The communicate() method
> > returns the correct text ("Reloading httpd: [  OK  ]"), and I get a
> > returncode of 0.  But the python script (Django) that calls Popen
> > never seems to complete (by returning an HTTP response.
> > Any other Popen call I've tried exits properly.  Here's some sample
> > code:
> >            args = ['sudo /etc/init.d/httpd reload']
> >            proc = subprocess.Popen(args, stdin=subprocess.PIPE,
> > stdout=subprocess.PIPE, stderr=subprocess.STDOUT, shell=True,
> > close_fds=True)
> >            (stdout_txt, stderr_txt) = proc.communicate("")
> >            proc.wait()
> >            logging.debug('%d %s<hr />%s' % (proc.returncode, stdout_txt,
> > stderr_txt))
> >            logging.debug('still executing')
> >            return HttpResponse('done')
> > The logging statements are output, but the script doesn't exit.  If
> > you substitute "sudo ls -l" or "sudo /etc/init.d/httpd configtest" for
> > "sudo /etc/init.d/httpd reload", the exits properly.
> >  Any idea what I might be doing wrong?
> > Thanks!
> Django runs inside apache.  It's kinda weird to have an apache process
> restart itself and expect it to return to the caller.
> If the init script does like mine, "reload" executes "apachectl -k
> graceful"   What that instructs apache to do is to restart, but only
> kill the process(es) when there are no more connections.  So apache is
> waiting for your connection to close, but you are inside an HTTP request
> waiting for apache to restart.  So you have a race condition here.
> It's not advisable to have apache kill itself and expect it to send a
> status back to you telling you it's dead.
> See the apache docs[1] for a better explanation.

Ah, I'd been told that there would be no conflict, and that this was
just reloading the configuration, not restarting Apache.

I do need the web app to instruct Apache to reload because just before
this it's creating new VirtualHosts that need to be recognized.  Is
there a better way to do this (e.g. to say "start doing this once I'm

I'm getting a status code and output from the call before the Django
script stops executing... Is there a way to stop waiting for the
process to complete once I have those?

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