Feature #13378


Eliminate 4 of 8 syscalls when requiring file by absolute path

Added by burke (Burke Libbey) about 7 years ago. Updated 3 months ago.

Target version:


Don't open file twice when specified by absolute path.

When invoking require '/a.rb' (i.e. via an absolute path), ruby generates this sequence of syscalls:

open    /a.rb
fstat64 /a.rb
close   /a.rb
open    /a.rb
fstat64 /a.rb
fstat64 /a.rb
read    /a.rb
close   /a.rb

It is apparent that the only inherently necessary members of this sequence are:

open    /a.rb
fstat64 /a.rb
read    /a.rb
close   /a.rb

(the fstat64 isn't obviously necessary, but it does serve a purpose and probably shouldn't be removed).

The first open/fstat64/close is used to check whether the file is loadable. This is important when scanning the $LOAD_PATH, since it is used to determine when a file has been found. However, when we've already unambiguously identified a file before invoking require, this serves no inherent purpose, since we can move whatever work is happening as a result of that fstat64 into the second open/close sequence.

This change bypasses the first open/fstat64/close in the case of an absolute path to require. It also removes one of the doubled-up fstat64 calls later in the sequence. As a result, the number of syscalls to require a file changes:

  • From 8 to 4 when specified by absolute path;
  • From 5+3n to 4+3n otherwise (where n is the number of $LOAD_PATH items scanned).

In future work, it would be possible to re-use the file descriptor opened while searching the $LOAD_PATH without the close/open sequence, but this would cause some ugly layering issues.

We intend to use this in conjunction with something like, which pre-resolves required features to absolute paths before calling require. This change reduces our total number of filesystem accesses by 13% during application boot.

Various notes and rationale at


Updated by burke (Burke Libbey) about 7 years ago

Ah, I was too hasty with the rebase from my 2.3.3 branch. I've attached a fixed patch. Note also that trunk has already eliminated the double-fstat, so this only reduces the number of syscalls when a feature is specified by absolute path (from 7 to 4).

Updated by naruse (Yui NARUSE) about 7 years ago

-VALUE rb_find_file_safe(VALUE, int);
+VALUE rb_find_file_safe(VALUE, int, int);

When you are CRuby developer, all functions declared under include/**/*.h are considered public C API.
(Note that if you are C extension developer, some of such APIs are experimental or private...)

Therefore rb_find_file_safe() should be kept as is.
You should declare rb_find_file_safe_with_defer_load_check or something in internal.h (not include/ruby/intern.h).

Or no one seems to use the function by GitHub search
we can simply change the prototype and move to internal.h.

           if ((fd = rb_cloexec_open(fname, mode, 0)) < 0) {
-               rb_load_fail(fname_v, strerror(errno));
+               goto fail;

This seems to need e = errno; before goto fail;

    int fd = 0;

It should be -1 because 0 is still valid fd even though it is STDIN.

  if (fd > 0) (void)close(fd);


Additionally, if you have tests to confirm the behavior, could you add them to test/ruby/test_require.rb?

Updated by burke (Burke Libbey) about 7 years ago

Thank you for the feedback! I've attached an updated patch to address the issues.

As for testing it, I haven't been able to think of a reasonable method to verify the behaviour without using dtrace/strace, since the only observable effect without system-level instrumentation should be a slight reduction in runtime. I could add a case to DTrace::TestRequire, but it feels wrong, since this file is concerned with testing the dtrace probes implemented by ruby, not testing ruby using built-in dtrace probes.


Updated by ko1 (Koichi Sasada) about 7 years ago

  • Assignee set to nobu (Nobuyoshi Nakada)
Actions #5

Updated by hsbt (Hiroshi SHIBATA) 3 months ago

  • Status changed from Open to Assigned

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