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Re: [PATCH/RFC] Fix refcount on some Python callbacks

From: Martin von Gagern <Martin.vGagern_at_gmx.net>
Date: Mon, 09 Jun 2008 20:53:17 +0200

Jelmer Vernooij wrote:
> The attached patch fixes the reference counting in the Python part of %
> callback_typemap. At the moment the reference counter of the Python
> function is not increased when passing it as a baton. This means that if
> Subversion is the only one still referencing the function it will be
> garbage collected, causing Subversion to segfault when it tries to call
> the Python callback.
> However, this patch doesn't decrement the reference counter once the
> callback is no longer used since there is no place to free batons as far
> as I know. That means we'll potentially keep Python methods around in
> memory that aren't used. Is that a problem or is there perhaps some way
> to work around this?


I'd like to warm up this old thread again, as I have a new suggestion.
Generally you have some python function, pass it to some interface code
that builds a wrapper around it to turn it into a c callback type, and
wraps that internal c thing back into a python object. Correct so far?

Now the only thing needed in order to get clean garbage collection would
be to attach the python function to the generated python object on the
python level. I've got a demo for this in one instance:

provider = svn_auth_get_ssl_server_trust_prompt_provider(callback)
provider.callback_reference = callback

So the subversion bindings see provider as the swig wrapper and can use
that to access the wrapped callback, just as before. Python, on the
other hand, sees that the object provider holds a reference to the
function callback, so it can't garbage collect the latter as long as the
provider is live.

This is a simple example and executed in one bzr-svn branch:
related to https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/238529

I'm no proficient enough in using swig to formulate this yet, but I
would assume that this kind of approach should work for all cases of
functions that take one python object and return another python object
that internally references the former but doesn't do so in python yet.

So instead of addressing this in each and every application using the
python bindings, it would be preferable to solve this on the subversion
side. Do you think this can be done? Is someone willing to do so? Or if
not, maybe willing to point me or others into the right direction?

  Martin von Gagern

Received on 2008-06-09 20:53:52 CEST

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