My contributions to CPython during 2016 Q3 (july, august, september):

hg log -r 'date("2016-07-01"):date("2016-09-30")' --no-merges -u Stinner

Statistics: 161 non-merge commits + 29 merge commits (total: 190 commits).

Previous report: My contributions to CPython during 2016 Q2. Next report: My contributions to CPython during 2016 Q4.

Table of Contents:

  • Two new core developers
  • CPython sprint, September, in California
  • PEP 524: Make os.urandom() blocking on Linux
  • PEP 509: private dictionary version
  • FASTCALL: optimization avoiding temporary tuple to call functions
  • More efficient CALL_FUNCTION bytecode
  • Work on optimization
  • Interesting bug: hidden resource warnings
  • Contributions
  • Bugfixes
  • regrtest changes
  • Tests changes
  • Other changes

Two new core developers

New core developers is the result of the productive third 2016 quarter.

At september 25, 2016, Yury Selivanov proposed to give commit privileges for INADA Naoki. Naoki became a core developer the day after!

At november 14, 2016, I proposed to promote Xiang Zhang as a core developer. One week later, he also became a core developer! I mentored him during one month, and later let him push directly changes.

Most Python core developers are men coming from North America and Europe. INADA Naoki comes from Japan and Xiang Zhang comes from China: more core developers from Asia, we increased the diversity of Python core developers!

CPython sprint, September, in California

I was invited at my first CPython sprint in September! Five days, September 5-9, at Instagram office in California, USA. I reviewed a lot of changes and pushed many new features! Read my previous blog post: CPython sprint, september 2016.

PEP 524: Make os.urandom() blocking on Linux

I pushed the implementation my PEP 524: read my previous blog post: PEP 524: os.urandom() now blocks on Linux in Python 3.6.

PEP 509: private dictionary version

Another enhancement from my FAT Python project: my PEP 509: Add a private version to dict was approved at the CPython sprint by Guido van Rossum.

The dictionary version is used by FAT Python to check quickly if a variable was modified in a Python namespace. Technically, a Python namespace is a regular dictionary.

Using the feedback from the python-ideas mailing list on the first version of my PEP, I made further changes:

  • Use 64-bit unsigned integers on 32-bit system: "A risk of an integer overflow every 584 years is acceptable." Using 32-bit, an overflow occurs every 4 seconds!
  • Don't expose the version at Python level to prevent users writing optimizations based on it in Python. Reading the dictionary version in Python is as slow as a dictionary lookup, wheras the version is usually used to avoid a "slow" dictionary lookup. The version is only accessible at the C level.

While my experimental FAT Python static optimizer didn't convince Guido, Yury Selivanov wrote yet another cache for global variables using the dictionary version: Implement LOAD_GLOBAL opcode cache (sadly, not merged yet).

I added the private version to the builtin dict type with the issue #26058. The global dictionary version is incremented at each dictionary creation and at each dictionary change, and each dictionary has its own version as well.

FASTCALL: optimization avoiding temporary tuple to call functions

Thanks to my work on making Python benchmarks more stable, I confirmed that my FASTCALL patches don't introduce performance regressions, and make Python faster in some specific cases.

I started to push FASTCALL changes. It will take me 6 months to push most changes to enable fully FASTCALL "everywhere" in the code base and to finish the implementation.

Following blog posts will describe FASTCALL changes, its history and performance enhancements. Spoiler: Python 3.6 is fast!

More efficient CALL_FUNCTION bytecode

I reviewed and merged Demur Rumed's patch to make the CALL_FUNCTION opcodes more efficient. Demur implemented the design proposed by Serhiy Storchaka. Serhiy Storchaka also reviewied the implementation with me.

Issue #27213: Rework CALL_FUNCTION* opcodes to produce shorter and more efficient bytecode:

  • CALL_FUNCTION now only accepts positional arguments
  • CALL_FUNCTION_KW accepts positional arguments and keyword arguments, keys of keyword arguments are packed into a constant tuple.
  • CALL_FUNCTION_EX is the most generic opcode: it expects a tuple and a dict for positional and keyword arguments.

CALL_FUNCTION_VAR and CALL_FUNCTION_VAR_KW opcodes have been removed.

Demur Rumed also implemented "Wordcode", a new bytecode format using fixed units of 16-bit: 8-bit opcode with 8-bit argument. Wordcode was merged in May 2016, see issue #26647: ceval: use Wordcode, 16-bit bytecode.

All instructions have an argument: opcodes without argument use the argument 0. It allowed to remove the following conditional code in the very hot code of Python/ceval.c:

if (HAS_ARG(opcode))
    oparg = NEXTARG();

The bytecode is now fetched using 16-bit words, instead of loading one or two 8-bit words per instruction.

Work on optimization

I continued with work on the performance Python benchmark suite. The suite works on CPython and PyPy, but it's maybe not fine tuned for PyPy yet.

  • Issue #27938: Add a fast-path for us-ascii encoding
  • Issue #15369: Remove the (old version of) pybench microbenchmark. Please use the new "performance" benchmark suite which includes a more recent version of pybench.
  • Issue #15369. Remove old and unreliable pystone microbenchmark. Please use the new "performance" benchmark suite which is much more reliable.

Interesting bug: hidden resource warnings

At 2016-08-22, I started to investigate why "Warning -- xxx was modfied by test_xxx" warnings were not logged on some buildbots (issue #27829).

I modified the code logging the warning to flush immediatly stderr: print(..., flush=True).

19 days later, I tried to remove a quiet flag -q on the Windows build... but it was a mistake, this flag doesn't mean quiet in the modified batch script :-)

13 days later, I finally understood that the -W option of regrtest was eating stderr if the test pass but the environment was modified.

I fixed regrtest to log stderr in all cases, except if the test pass! It should now be easier to fix "environment changed" warnings emitted by regrtest.


As usual, I reviewed and pushed changes written by other contributors:

  • Issue #27350: I reviewed and pushed the implementation of compact dictionaries preserving insertion order. This resulted in dictionaries using 20% to 25% less memory when compared to Python 3.5. The implementation was written by INADA Naoki, based on the PyPy implementation, with a design by Raymond Hettinger.
  • "make tags": remove -t option of ctags. The option was kept for backward compatibility, but it was completly removed recently. Patch written by Stéphane Wirtel.
  • Issue #27558: Fix a SystemError in the implementation of "raise" statement. In a brand new thread, raise a RuntimeError since there is no active exception to reraise. Patch written by Xiang Zhang.
  • Issue #28120: Fix dict.pop() for splitted dictionary when trying to remove a "pending key": a key not yet inserted in split-table. Patch by Xiang Zhang.


  • socket: Fix internal_select() function. Bug found by Pavel Belikov ("Fragment N1"):

  • socket: use INVALID_SOCKET.

    • Replace fd = -1 with fd = INVALID_SOCKET
    • Replace fd < 0 with fd == INVALID_SOCKET: SOCKET_T is unsigned on Windows

    Bug found by Pavel Belikov ("Fragment N1"):

  • Issue #11048: ctypes, fix CThunkObject_new()

    • Initialize restype and flags fields to fix a crash when Python runs on a read-only file system
    • Use Py_ssize_t type rather than int for the i iterator variable
    • Reorder assignements to be able to more easily check if all fields are initialized

    Initial patch written by Marcin Bachry.

  • Issue #27744: socket: Fix memory leak in sendmsg() and sendmsg_afalg(). Release msg.msg_iov memory block. Release memory on PyMem_Malloc(controllen) failure

  • Issue #27866: ssl: Fix refleak in cipher_to_dict().

  • Issue #28077: Fix dict type, find_empty_slot() only supports combined dictionaries.

  • Issue #28200: Fix memory leak in path_converter(). Replace PyUnicode_AsWideCharString() with PyUnicode_AsUnicodeAndSize().

  • Issue #27955: Catch permission error (EPERM) in py_getrandom(). Fallback on reading from the /dev/urandom device when the getrandom() syscall fails with EPERM, for example if blocked by SECCOMP.

  • Issue #27778: Fix a memory leak in os.getrandom() when the getrandom() is interrupted by a signal and a signal handler raises a Python exception.

  • Issue #28233: Fix PyUnicode_FromFormatV() error handling. Fix a memory leak if the format string contains a non-ASCII character: destroy the unicode writer.

regrtest changes

  • regrtest: rename --slow option to --slowest (to get same option name than the testr tool). Thanks to optparse, --slow syntax still works ;-) Add --slowest option to buildbots. Display the top 10 slowest tests.
  • regrtest: nicer output for durations. Use milliseconds and minutes units, not only seconds.
  • regrtest: Add a summary of the tests at the end of tests output: "Tests result: xxx". It was sometimes hard to check quickly if tests succeeded, failed or something bad happened.
  • regrtest: accept options after test names. For example, ./python -m test test_os -v runs test_os in verbose mode. Before, regrtest tried to run a test called "-v"!
  • Issue #28195: Fix test_huntrleaks_fd_leak() of test_regrtest. Don't expect the fd leak message to be on a specific line number, just make sure that the line is present in the output.

Example of a recent (2017-02-15) successful test run, truncated output:

0:08:20 [403/404] test_codecs passed
0:08:21 [404/404] test_threading passed
391 tests OK.

10 slowest tests:
- test_multiprocessing_spawn: 1 min 24 sec
- test_concurrent_futures: 1 min 3 sec
- test_multiprocessing_forkserver: 60 sec

13 tests skipped:
    test_devpoll test_ioctl test_kqueue ...

Total duration: 8 min 22 sec
Tests result: SUCCESS

Tests changes

  • script_helper: kill the subprocess on error. If Popen.communicate() raises an exception, kill the child process to not leave a running child process in background and maybe create a zombi process. This change fixes a ResourceWarning in Python 3.6 when unit tests are interrupted by CTRL+c.

  • Issue #27181: Skip test_statistics tests known to fail until a fix is found.

  • Issue #18401: Fix test_pdb if $HOME is not set. HOME is not set on Windows for example.

  • test_eintr: Fix ResourceWarning warnings

  • Buildbot: give 20 minute per test file. It seems like at least 2 buildbots need more than 15 minutes per test file. Example with "AMD64 Snow Leop 3.x":

    10 slowest tests:
    - test_tools: 14 min 40 sec
    - test_tokenize: 11 min 57 sec
    - test_datetime: 11 min 25 sec
    - ...
  • Issue #28176: test_asynico: fix test_sock_connect_sock_write_race(), increase the timeout from 10 seconds to 60 seconds.

Other changes

  • Issue #22624: Python 3 now requires the clock() function to build to simplify the C code.
  • Issue #27404: tag security related changes with the "[Security]" prefix in the changelog Misc/NEWS.
  • Issue #27776: dev_urandom(raise=0) now closes the file descriptor on error
  • Issue #27128, #18295: Use Py_ssize_t in _PyEval_EvalCodeWithName(). Replace int type with Py_ssize_t for index variables used for positional arguments. It should help to avoid integer overflow and help to emit better machine code for i++ (no trap needed for overflow). Make also the total_args variable constant.
  • Fix "make tags": set locale to C to call sort. vim expects that the tags file is sorted using english collation, so it fails if the locale is french for example. Use LC_ALL=C to force english sorting order. Issue #27726.
  • Issue #27698: Add socketpair function to socket.__all__ on Windows
  • Issue #27786: Simplify (optimize?) PyLongObject private function x_sub(): the z variable is known to be a new object which cannot be shared, Py_SIZE() can be used directly to negate the number.
  • Fix a clang warning in grammar.c. Clang is smarter than GCC and emits a warning for dead code on a function declared with __attribute__((__noreturn__)) (the Py_FatalError() function in this case).
  • Issue #28114: Add unit tests on os.spawn*() to prepare to fix a crash with bytes environment.
  • Issue #28127: Add _PyDict_CheckConsistency(): function checking that a dictionary remains consistent after any change. By default, only basic attributes are tested, table content is not checked because the impact on Python performance is too important. DEBUG_PYDICT must be defined (ex: gcc -D DEBUG_PYDICT) to check also dictionaries content.