[IPython-user] [0:execute]: IOError: [Errno 4] Interrupted system call

Brian Granger ellisonbg.net@gmail....
Mon Dec 1 17:01:51 CST 2008

Just checked in Twisted and IPython and there are no os.kill's
anywhere in the core that would show up here.  That leaves:

1.  User code
2.  Some other process.  Is there a chance that the engines are being
started using some batch system (like PBS) that ends up sending the
process signals?


On Mon, Dec 1, 2008 at 2:21 PM, Andrew Straw <strawman@astraw.com> wrote:
> Brian Granger wrote:
>>> Sorry I don't have any specific information concerning your situation,
>>> but as it's been a few days with no response, I figured I'd chime in. My
>>> understanding is that an interrupted system call (EINTR) happens when a
>>> system call (e.g. select(), fread(), fwrite(), and so on) is interrupted
>>> by a signal that the kernel decides your thread is going to handle. The
>>> correct behavior is to deal appropriately with the signal (possibly
>>> ignoring it) and then repeat your system call.
>> Yep, I think that is what is going on.  Is there a chance that the
>> signal is anything other than EINTR?  I ask as that will help us track
>> this down.
> Sorry, I wasn't clear here. EINTR is the errno value that's returned
> here. The signal could be anything.
>>> I've found lots of code in the wild that is not robust to being
>>> interrupted this way (including in core Python), but luckily very little
>>> code that sends signals and thus interrupts code that way. So, I think
>>> the best solution will be to find what is sending the signal and
>>> eliminate it. Hopefully this will ring some bells with someone more
>>> knowledgeable in the ipython internals than I. Also, are you running any
>>> third party code that could be sending signals?
>> There are a couple of possibilities:
>> 1.  Something deep in the internals of Python itself.
>> 2.  Something deep in Twisted
>> 3.  It wouldn't be in IPython as we (as far as I know) are not sending
>> any signals.
>> 4.  Deep somewhere in user code that they are not aware of.
>> My best guesses are Twisted or in user code.  I will look at Twisted
>> to see if it sends signals anywhere.  Is it also possible that the
>> kernel itself sends the signal?
> I've never experienced the kernel sending unrequested signals other than
> the usual things like SIGINT and SIGKILL... But I suppose it could be
> configured to do so somehow.
> My best guess is that this is more likely to be in user code than in
> Twisted or the other sources you list. I suspect that if signals were
> used as part of Python or Twisted, folks attempting to  use
> non-EINTR-safe code (there's a lot of it) would've come screaming by
> now. My relatively naive understanding of this stuff is that signals are
> the blunt tool of inter-process communication and I see the Twisted crew
> as more the fine surgeon types... But I haven't grepped for os.kill() in
> the Twisted sources, either, so I could be wrong. Likewise I don't know
> about IPython, but I'd be surprised if it was doing IPC via signals. If
> it is, I'd suggest it be removed, as it will come back to haunt anyone
> without non-EINTR-safe code.
> It's debugging these types of things that turns my hair gray...
> -Andrew

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