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A QFB agent: how to catch C-level crashes and last Python stack ?

P: n/a
When employing complex UI libs (wx, win32ui, ..) and other extension
libs, nice "only Python stack traces" remain a myth.

Currently I'm hunting again a rare C-level crash bug of a Python based
Windows app with rare user reports - and still in the dark (I get
snippets of machine stack traces / screenshots with random "mem. access
error" / "python caused the runtime to terminate in an unusual way" / ..)

I'd like to hook a kind of quality feedback agent a C-level to enable
the user transfer a report (similar to what Mozilla/Netscape has), e.g.
in a changed python.exe stub. Next to the machine stack/regs it should
grab the relevant last Python thread stack(s), if any, and maybe other
useful status and python global vars.
(There are also Python threads going on. )

Is that possible?

-robert
Apr 25 '06 #1
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2 Replies


P: n/a
robert wrote:
When employing complex UI libs (wx, win32ui, ..) and other extension
libs, nice "only Python stack traces" remain a myth.

Currently I'm hunting again a rare C-level crash bug of a Python based
Windows app with rare user reports - and still in the dark (I get
snippets of machine stack traces / screenshots with random "mem. access
error" / "python caused the runtime to terminate in an unusual way" / ..)

I'd like to hook a kind of quality feedback agent a C-level to enable
the user transfer a report (similar to what Mozilla/Netscape has), e.g.
in a changed python.exe stub. Next to the machine stack/regs it should
grab the relevant last Python thread stack(s), if any, and maybe other
useful status and python global vars.
(There are also Python threads going on. )

Is that possible?

-robert


It looks like this may be what you want. Quoting from

http://www.usenix.org/events/usenix0...ey/beazley.pdf

"""
In recent years, scripting languages such as Perl,
Python, and Tcl have become popular development tools
for the creation of sophisticated application software.
One of the most useful features of these languages is
their ability to easily interact with compiled languages
such as C and C++. Although this mixed language approach
has many benefits, one of the greatest drawbacks
is the complexity of debugging that results from using
interpreted and compiled code in the same application.
In part, this is due to the fact that scripting language
interpreters are unable to recover from catastrophic errors
in compiled extension code. Moreover, traditional
C/C++ debuggers do not provide a satisfactory degree
of integration with interpreted languages. This paper
describes an experimental system in which fatal extension
errors such as segmentation faults, bus errors, and
failed assertions are handled as scripting language exceptions.
This system, which has been implemented as
a general purpose shared library, requires no modifications
to the target scripting language, introduces no performance
penalty, and simplifies the debugging of mixed
interpreted-compiled application software.
"""

It may be an interesting project to port this to Windows.

Hope that helps,

Thomas

Apr 27 '06 #2

P: n/a
Thomas Heller wrote:
robert wrote:
When employing complex UI libs (wx, win32ui, ..) and other extension
libs, nice "only Python stack traces" remain a myth.

Currently I'm hunting again a rare C-level crash bug of a Python based
Windows app with rare user reports - and still in the dark (I get
snippets of machine stack traces / screenshots with random "mem.
access error" / "python caused the runtime to terminate in an unusual
way" / ..)

I'd like to hook a kind of quality feedback agent a C-level to enable
the user transfer a report (similar to what Mozilla/Netscape has),
e.g. in a changed python.exe stub. Next to the machine stack/regs it
should grab the relevant last Python thread stack(s), if any, and
maybe other useful status and python global vars.
(There are also Python threads going on. )

Is that possible?

-robert

It looks like this may be what you want. Quoting from

http://www.usenix.org/events/usenix0...ey/beazley.pdf

"""
In recent years, scripting languages such as Perl,
Python, and Tcl have become popular development tools
for the creation of sophisticated application software.
One of the most useful features of these languages is
their ability to easily interact with compiled languages
such as C and C++. Although this mixed language approach
has many benefits, one of the greatest drawbacks
is the complexity of debugging that results from using
interpreted and compiled code in the same application.
In part, this is due to the fact that scripting language
interpreters are unable to recover from catastrophic errors
in compiled extension code. Moreover, traditional
C/C++ debuggers do not provide a satisfactory degree
of integration with interpreted languages. This paper
describes an experimental system in which fatal extension
errors such as segmentation faults, bus errors, and
failed assertions are handled as scripting language exceptions.
This system, which has been implemented as
a general purpose shared library, requires no modifications
to the target scripting language, introduces no performance
penalty, and simplifies the debugging of mixed
interpreted-compiled application software.
"""

It may be an interesting project to port this to Windows.

Hope that helps,


Thanks, exactly. That would be quite luxurious as WAD manages to even
continue normal Python execution on the current stack (only in a UNIX
main thread?) with a regular Python exception. That would make pets out
of all bugs - preventing users from facing nameless app freezes, but
make the help bug elimination for distributed programs by detailed reports.

simply catching signal.SIGSEGV with Python's signal module causes just
looping at 100% CPU load (The GIL is not forced ?)

WAD obviously has not anymore evolved since the beginning.

The Author says, that a Windows port would be quite complex - because
advanced execution context manipulation is obviously not possible with
signals on Windows.
Yet he mentions the Windows C++ "structured exception handling", which
may enable that.

I know that the fast Object Store OO-Database uses exactly that method
to catch and recover execution from seg faults, while updating a kind of
memory mapped database into the system.
I integrated that OO-DBMS exception handler once with Python some years
back by making a C++ file out of python.c as shown below or even by
using that PSECall alone, which is needed anyway for wrapping any other
Python threads (start functions) with the seg fault handler. Probably
there is even better thread control possible than on Linux. Yet I don't
know so far if its possible to find the valid Python exit functions on
the stack (for returning from exceptions) the same style as in Unix ELF
binaries ...

--

#define OS_PSE_ESTABLISH_FAULT_HANDLER \
{ try { _PSE_NS_ _ODI_fault_handler _ODI_handler; try {
...
#define OS_PSE_END_FAULT_HANDLER \
} catch (_PSE_NS_ os_err& e) { e.print(); } \
} catch (_PSE_NS_ _ODI_fault_handler&) {} }
...
#include <os_pse/ostore.hh>
#include "Python.h"

extern "C" { DL_EXPORT(int) Py_Main(int, char**);}

int main(int argc, char **argv)
{
int result=0;

// The top of the stack of every thread of every program
// must be wrapped in a fault handler
// This macro begins the handler's scope
OS_PSE_ESTABLISH_FAULT_HANDLER

result = Py_Main(argc, argv);

// This macro ends the fault handler's scope
OS_PSE_END_FAULT_HANDLER

return result;
}

---
#ifdef SWIG

//# for wrapping python threads with the PSE fault handler
%native(PSECall) _wrap_PSECall;
%{
//#include <os_pse/ostore.hh>
//#include "Python.h"
static PyObject *_wrap_PSECall(PyObject *self, PyObject *args) {
PyObject * func =0 ;
PyObject * funcargs =0 ;

PyObject* result;

if(!PyArg_ParseTuple(args,"OO:PSECall",&func, &funcargs)) return NULL;

// The top of the stack of every thread of every program
// must be wrapped in a fault handler
// This macro begins the handler's scope
OS_PSE_ESTABLISH_FAULT_HANDLER
result = PyEval_CallObject(func,funcargs); // Call Python

// This macro ends the fault handler's scope
OS_PSE_END_FAULT_HANDLER

return result;
}
%}
#endif // SWIG

---
-robert
Apr 29 '06 #3

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