Bug #18455


`IO#close` has poor performance and difficult to understand semantics.

Added by ioquatix (Samuel Williams) 11 months ago. Updated about 2 months ago.

Target version:


IO#close should be responsible for closing the file descriptor referred to by the IO instance. When dealing with buffered IO, one can also expect this to flush the internal buffers if possible.

Currently, all blocking IO operations release the GVL and perform the blocking system call using rb_thread_io_blocking_region. The current implementation takes a file descriptor and adds an entry to the VM global waiting_fds list. When the operation is completed, the entry is removed from waiting_fds.

When calling IO#close, this list is traversed and any threads performing blocking operations with a matching file descriptor are interrupted. The performance of this is O(number of blocking IO operations) which in practice the performance of IO#close can take milliseconds with 10,000 threads performing blocking IO. This performance is unacceptable.

#!/usr/bin/env ruby

require 'benchmark'

class Reading
  def initialize
    @r, @w = IO.pipe

    @thread = do
    rescue IOError
      # Ignore.

  attr :r
  attr :w

  attr :thread

  def join

def measure(count = 10)
  readings = do

  sleep 10

  duration = Benchmark.measure do
    readings.each do |reading|

  average = ( / count) * 1000.0
  pp count: count, average: sprintf("%0.2fms", average)


measure(   10)
measure(  100)
measure( 1000)

In addition, the semantics of this operation are confusing at best. While Ruby programs are dealing with IO instances, the VM is dealing with file descriptors, in effect performing some internal de-duplication of IO state. In practice, this leads to strange behaviour:

#!/usr/bin/env ruby

r, w = IO.pipe
r2 = IO.for_fd(r.to_i)
pp r: r, r2: r2

t = do rescue nil # EBADF

sleep 0.5
t.join rescue nil

pp r: r, r2: r2
# r is closed, r2 is valid but will raise EBADF on any operation.

In addition, this confusing behaviour extends to Ractor and state is leaked between the two:

r, w = IO.pipe

ractor = do |fd|
  r2 = IO.for_fd(fd)
  # # EBADF

sleep 0.5

pp take: ractor.take

I propose the following changes to simplify the semantics and improve performance:

  • Move the semantics of waiting_fds from per-fd to per-IO. This means that IO#close only interrupts blocking operations performed on the same IO instance rather than ANY IO which refers to the same file descriptor. I think this behaviour is easier to understand and still protects against the vast majority of incorrect usage.
  • Move the details of struct rb_io_t to internal/io.h so that the implementation details are not part of the public interface.



{:count=>10, :average=>"0.19ms"}
{:count=>100, :average=>"0.11ms"}
{:count=>1000, :average=>"0.18ms"}
{:count=>10000, :average=>"1.16ms"}


{:count=>10, :average=>"0.20ms"}
{:count=>100, :average=>"0.11ms"}
{:count=>1000, :average=>"0.15ms"}
{:count=>10000, :average=>"0.68ms"}

After investigating this further I found that the rb_thread_io_blocking_region using ubf_select can be incredibly slow, proportional to the number of threads. I don't know whether it's advisable but:

        BLOCKING_REGION(blocking_node.thread, {
            val = func(data1);
            saved_errno = errno;
        }, NULL /* ubf_select */, blocking_node.thread, FALSE);

Disabling the UBF function and relying on read(fd, ...)/write(fd, ...) blocking operations to fail when close(fd) is invoked might be sufficient? This needs more investigation but after making this change, we have constant-time IO#close.

{:count=>10, :average=>"0.13ms"}
{:count=>100, :average=>"0.06ms"}
{:count=>1000, :average=>"0.04ms"}
{:count=>10000, :average=>"0.09ms"}

Which is ideally what we want.

Related issues 2 (2 open0 closed)

Related to Ruby master - Bug #19039: Closing an IO being select'ed in another thread does not resume the threadOpenActions
Related to Ruby master - Bug #14681: `syswrite': stream closed in another thread (IOError)OpenActions

Updated by Eregon (Benoit Daloze) 11 months ago

Nice, I thought this logic was already per IO instance.

I don't see how it will change anything about this leads to strange behaviour though.
Which is fine because it seems unavoidable as long as IO.for_fd(fd) exists.

IO.for_fd(fd) does not dup(2) and so EBADF is expected if the original IO of fd is closed.
IO.for_fd(fd) is unsafe in general, and is only OK when: 1) autoclose = false is called on it; 2) the original IO is alive longer and not closed for all usages of IO.for_fd(fd) for that fd.
For Ractor purposes it's a lot safer to Racter#send(io, move: true) rather than passing the fd and IO.for_fd(fd).

Updated by Eregon (Benoit Daloze) 11 months ago

Ah, the difference is thread t won't be interrupted anymore, but close(2) probably stops the blocking read.
@ioquatix (Samuel Williams) So what's the result of the two snippets after this patch?

Updated by ioquatix (Samuel Williams) 8 months ago

@shyouhei (Shyouhei Urabe) what was the point of - Performance? Consistency? Something else?

Even though it's called rb_io_fptr_finalize_internal it now seems part of public Ruby API? Can you confirm that was your desire? Like, basically how is it possible to see this error:

 /home/runner/work/ruby/ruby/src/tool/lib/test/unit/parallel.rb: TestFileUtils#test_cp_r_socket: symbol lookup error: /home/runner/work/ruby/ruby/build/.ext/x86_64-linux/ undefined symbol: rb_io_fptr_finalize_internal

Maybe my fault, but I'm seeing:

In file included from ../src/process.c:102:
../src/internal.h:67:9: error: 'rb_io_fptr_finalize' macro redefined [-Werror,-Wmacro-redefined]
#define rb_io_fptr_finalize(...) rb_nonexistent_symbol(__VA_ARGS__)
../src/internal/io.h:147:9: note: previous definition is here
#define rb_io_fptr_finalize rb_io_fptr_finalize_internal
1 error generated.

and similar errors.

Updated by shyouhei (Shyouhei Urabe) 8 months ago

ioquatix (Samuel Williams) wrote in #note-4:

@shyouhei (Shyouhei Urabe) what was the point of - Performance? Consistency? Something else?

Hello, rb_io_fptr_finalize_internal this is a very tiny peephole optimisation to omit return value when possible. I didn't indent to make it public. If it is now that isn't what I want.

Actions #6

Updated by mame (Yusuke Endoh) about 2 months ago

  • Related to Bug #19039: Closing an IO being select'ed in another thread does not resume the thread added

Updated by ioquatix (Samuel Williams) about 2 months ago

I didn't realise it but I already filed a bug for a race condition in this behaviour too:

Actions #8

Updated by Eregon (Benoit Daloze) about 2 months ago

  • Related to Bug #14681: `syswrite': stream closed in another thread (IOError) added

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