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thread death callback to be called after fork

 
 
ara.t.howard@noaa.gov
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      11-10-2006

forking kills threads, if it didn't, this would hang:


harp:~ > cat a.rb
t = Thread.new{ sleep }
fork{ t.join; exit } and Process.wait

harp:~ > ruby a.rb


but, of course, it does not

now, say you need to know when a thread has been killed due to forking, it
appears there is no message sent to the thread:

harp:~ > cat a.rb
t = Thread.new{ sleep }
class << t
instance_methods.each{|m| undef_method m unless m[/__/]}
end
fork{ exit } and Process.wait


harp:~ > ruby a.rb
a.rb:4: warning: undefining `__send__' may cause serious problem
a.rb:4: warning: undefining `__id__' may cause serious problem


otherwise we'd see an error thrown for some message being sent to 't'.


definining a finalizer is one way to trigger notification of thread death on
fork:


harp:~ > cat a.rb
t = Thread.new{ sleep }

ObjectSpace.define_finalizer(t){ puts "t death in #{ $$ }" }

fork{ exit } and Process.wait


harp:~ > ruby a.rb
t death in 6671
t death in 6670


but, for this to work you must inherit __every__ exit handler from the parent:

harp:~ > cat a.rb
t = Thread.new{ sleep }

ObjectSpace.define_finalizer(t){ puts "t death in #{ $$ }" }

at_exit{ puts "parent(#{ $$ }) death" }

fork{
at_exit{ exit! } # don't inherit at_exit handlers from parent!!!
at_exit{ puts "child(#{ $$ }) death" }
exit
} and Process.wait


harp:~ > ruby a.rb
child(6677) death
parent(6676) death
t death in 6676


as you see above, if we don't the finalizer is called only in the parent.


now, in my case i have a thread that's reading from a socket in the
background, when this thread dies and death trigger is fired. this works
great. this issue is that any fork in the code will duplicate the socket
being read from in the child, and i don't want that. my thinking is that i
could handle this by trapping the finalization of the thread doing the reading
and, when it's finalized, shutdown the socket. eg


t = Thread.new{ socket.read; death_callback.call }

ObjectSpace.define_finalizer(t){ socket.close }

fork{
# socket should get close here since t gets killed
exit
}

this issue is that i cannot inherit all at_exit handlers from the parent, eg
my code is closer to

t = Thread.new{ socket.read; death_callback.call }

ObjectSpace.define_finalizer(t){ socket.close }

fork{
at_exit{ exit! } # don't inherit from parent
# socket doesn't get closed here, even though t gets reaped
exit
}

so i was hoping that some message would be sent to 't' in the child, 'kill'
for instance, the shut it down. however, this doesn't seem to be the case, it
seems like the thread is killed without any message being sent to it, so that
i cannot trigger an event on it's death.

is this true? any workarounds?

-a
--
my religion is very simple. my religion is kindness. -- the dalai lama

 
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Tim Pease
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      11-10-2006
On 11/10/06, http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/(E-Mail Removed) <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>
> so i was hoping that some message would be sent to 't' in the child, 'kill'
> for instance, the shut it down. however, this doesn't seem to be the case, it
> seems like the thread is killed without any message being sent to it, so that
> i cannot trigger an event on it's death.
>
> is this true? any workarounds?
>


I did this quick experiment to see exactly what was going on. Create
the thread, fork a child, and then print out a message in the child
and in the parent.

$ cat tmp.rb

t = Thread.new{ sleep }

ObjectSpace.define_finalizer(t) {puts "t death in #{$$}"}
at_exit {puts "parent(#{$$}) death"}

fork {
at_exit {puts "child(#{$$}) death"}
puts "thread status '#{t.status}'"
puts "sleeping in child"
sleep 2
exit
} and Process.wait

puts "sleeping in parent"
sleep 2

puts "DONE"

$ ruby tmp.rb
thread status 'false'
sleeping in child
child(29926) death
parent(29926) death
t death in 29926
sleeping in parent
DONE
parent(29925) death
t death in 29925

We see the parent death twice because the child ran the parent's
finalizers -- that is also why we see the thread death in the child.
However, the status of the thread on entering is "false". This means
that the thread has already terminated, but its finalizer does not get
called in the child until the child exits.

Ara, is your desire to close the socket at the beginning of the child
process or at the end?

Either way the workaround is the same. Define the finalizer as a Proc
object, and pass this Proc to the child. The child will call the Proc
either at the beginning of the fork or at the end using its own
at_exit call ...

$ cat tmp2.rb

t = Thread.new{ sleep }

finalizer = lambda {puts "t death in #{$$}"}
ObjectSpace.define_finalizer(t, finalizer)
at_exit {puts "parent(#{$$}) death"}

fork {
at_exit {exit!}
at_exit {puts "child(#{$$}) death"}
at_exit {finalizer.call}
puts "thread status '#{t.status}'"
puts "sleeping in child"
sleep 2
exit
} and Process.wait


puts "sleeping in parent"
sleep 2

puts "DONE"

$ ruby tmp2.rb
thread status 'false'
sleeping in child
t death in 29967
child(29967) death
sleeping in parent
DONE
parent(29966) death
t death in 29966


Now, if you want to kill the socket at the start of the fork, then
just invoke the finalizer first.

$ cat tmp3.rb

t = Thread.new{ sleep }

finalizer = lambda {puts "t death in #{$$}"}
ObjectSpace.define_finalizer(t, finalizer)
at_exit {puts "parent(#{$$}) death"}

fork {
at_exit {exit!}
at_exit {puts "child(#{$$}) death"}
finalizer.call
puts "thread status '#{t.status}'"
puts "sleeping in child"
sleep 2
exit
} and Process.wait


puts "sleeping in parent"
sleep 2

puts "DONE"

$ ruby tmp3.rb
t death in 29984
thread status 'false'
sleeping in child
child(29984) death
sleeping in parent
DONE
parent(29983) death
t death in 29983


Hope this makes sense.

TwP

 
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Joel VanderWerf
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      11-10-2006
(E-Mail Removed) wrote:
...
> now, say you need to know when a thread has been killed due to forking, it
> appears there is no message sent to the thread:


Notification would also be useful in case the thread is holding some
resource, such as a mutex, when it is killed in the child (as in [1]).

Finalizers don't seem right--you have to manage them separately from the
normal code to close resources, which is typically in ensure clauses.

Maybe fork should, in the child process, keep the other threads alive
long enough to raise an exception in them, so that ensure clauses are
executed? This would handle all kinds of resources, not just sockets and
mutexes.

An ensure clause could also keep the thread alive. I'm not sure if this
is a bug or a feature, but it sounds right. You might want some of the
threads to survive into the fork.

There probably isn't a pure ruby way to hack this in, because the
threads (other than the running thread) are already dead in the fork as
soon as the fork starts executing ruby code.

[1] http://wiki.rubygarden.org/Ruby/page/show/ForkableMutex

--
vjoel : Joel VanderWerf : path berkeley edu : 510 665 3407

 
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