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Subject: Re: [boost] [gsoc] Boost.Process done
From: Stewart, Robert (Robert.Stewart_at_[hidden])
Date: 2010-09-13 07:41:27

Jeremy Maitin-Shepard
> On 09/11/2010 01:47 PM, Boris Schaeling wrote:
> > There is only one worker thread within the ioservice object.
> I assumed you were using waitpid with the specific pid of the
> child, but I just took a look at the code and see that you are
> using wait (which waits for any child, equivalent to waitpid
> with a pid of -1). This indeed avoids the need for one thread
> per child process, but has the serious drawback that it will
> silently eat all notifications related to child processes not
> created by boost process, and therefore prevents any other code
> in the same program from properly dealing with child processes.

That's definitely bad behavior and must be avoided.

> Note that from a SIGCHLD handler, you could invoke waitpid with
> WNOHANG once for each child process, and this way avoid the
> need to coordinate regarding child process notification, but
> you would still need to coordinate regarding SIGCHLD, and I
> think it would be very inefficient to have to make one syscall
> per child process each time SIGCHLD arrives.

Is not signal handling a process-specific behavior? It may be
POSIX-specific, but it seems reasonable that Boost.Process
provide signal handling support. Then, Boost.Process can require
that all code in a process using that library must coordinate
with its signal handling.

If Boost.Process provides useful and convenient support for
signal handling, most users of the library would use that for
their signal handling. Those that must integrate with other
signal handling code need only have some means of tying both

I have code for doing such convenient signal handling that I
think I could get permission to share if you're interested. It
would, at least, be a good jump start.

> If you arranged to have all of the child processes created by
> boost process actually be grandchildren of the main process,
> and children of a special forked process created by
> boost.process, then you could simultaneously avoid coordination
> regarding SIGCHLD and waitpid, at the cost of just one
> additional process. However, due to the need for an additional
> process, I don't really like this solution either.

That it behaves properly is an excellent recommendation for this
approach compared with wait(). I'm not sure that the overhead of
yet another process is an insuperable problem, but it is cause
for concern. Still, if Boost.Process takes on signal handling
and requires that other signal handling code cooperate with it,
then SIGCHLD is made available and eliminates the need for the
interstitial process.

Rob Stewart robert.stewart_at_[hidden]
Software Engineer, Core Software using std::disclaimer;
Susquehanna International Group, LLP

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