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Feature #19993

open

Optionally Free all memory at exit

Added by HParker (Adam Hess) 7 months ago. Updated 6 months ago.

Status:
Open
Assignee:
-
Target version:
-
[ruby-core:115304]

Description

Add a runtime option allowing Ruby to optionally free all memory at shutdown.

why

Today, memory sanitizers are difficult to use with Ruby, since not all memory is freed at shutdown. it is difficult to detect memory leaks or errors in Ruby or in Ruby C extensions when these tools are not available.

While implementing this feature, we were able to identify and fix a number of memory leaks and errors.

https://github.com/ruby/ruby/pull/8556
https://github.com/ruby/ruby/pull/8512
https://github.com/ruby/ruby/pull/8503
https://github.com/ruby/ruby/pull/8487
https://github.com/ruby/ruby/pull/8452
https://github.com/ruby/ruby/pull/8501
https://github.com/ruby/ruby/pull/8481
https://github.com/ruby/ruby/pull/8555

This shows that having access to tools like this can make finding and fixing memory bugs easier.

current progress

Today we can allow ruby developers to enable freeing memory at shutdown via the free-at-shutdown runtime option.

PR: https://github.com/ruby/ruby/pull/8868

running,

without --free-on-shutdown:

valgrind --leak-check=full --show-leak-kinds=all --track-origins=yes -- ./miniruby basictest/test.rb 
==573270== LEAK SUMMARY:
==573270==    definitely lost: 658,324 bytes in 5,387 blocks
==573270==    indirectly lost: 955,708 bytes in 11,957 blocks
==573270==      possibly lost: 2,071,096 bytes in 12 blocks
==573270==    still reachable: 161,881 bytes in 275 blocks
==573270==         suppressed: 0 bytes in 0 blocks
==573270== Reachable blocks (those to which a pointer was found) are not shown.
==573270== To see them, rerun with: --leak-check=full --show-leak-kinds=all

with --free-on-shutdown

valgrind --leak-check=full --show-leak-kinds=all --track-origins=yes -- ./miniruby --free-on-shutdown basictest/test.rb 
==573306== HEAP SUMMARY:
==573306==     in use at exit: 0 bytes in 0 blocks
==573306==   total heap usage: 43,643 allocs, 43,643 frees, 29,222,534 bytes allocated
==573306== 
==573306== All heap blocks were freed -- no leaks are possible

future plans

  • Continue improving memory safety
  • add valgrind --leak-check=full --show-leak-kinds=all --track-origins=yes -- ./miniruby --free-on-shutdown basictest/test.rb to CI
  • Allow C extensions to do a "optional destruct for memory safety" so they can leverage the same memory sanitizer tools.

Updated by mame (Yusuke Endoh) 7 months ago

Nice job! It's also very good that they actually fix a lot of memory leak bugs. Thanks.

The reason for making it optional is to prevent an increase in the exit time? I wonder if it is worth the complexity of adding the command-line option.

I concern the increase in footprint a little, however, the size of ruby executable become 45,949,416 bytes to 45,963,736 bytes in my environment (0.03% increase). I don't think this is a problem.

Updated by HParker (Adam Hess) 7 months ago

The reason for making it optional is to prevent an increase in the exit time? I wonder if it is worth the complexity of adding the command-line option.

Yeah, I don't know how concerned about exit time I should be, but if you aren't testing memory behavior, I am not sure if there is a compelling reason to free memory that that is sure to not grow. I do agree it would be simpler to skip the runtime flag though.

Updated by byroot (Jean Boussier) 7 months ago

I don't know how concerned about exit time I should be

Minor increase is acceptable, but it's quite important in several cases, e.g. command line tools, etc. Perhaps it can be an environment variable?

Updated by mame (Yusuke Endoh) 7 months ago

I wonder what kind of micro-benchmark would have the largest overhead.

Loading 100,000 empty files

$ time ./miniruby -e 'n = "a"; 100000.times { require "./empty-files/#{ n }"; n.succ! }'

real    0m2.706s
user    0m1.112s
sys     0m1.567s

$ time ./miniruby --free-on-shutdown -e 'n = "a"; 100000.times { require "./empty-files/#{ n }"; n.succ! }'
./miniruby: warning: Free on shutdown is experimental and may be unstable

real    0m2.747s
user    0m1.318s
sys     0m1.402s

Defining 1,000,000 global variables

$ time ./miniruby -e 's = []; n = "a"; 1000000.times { s << "$#{ n }=1"; n.succ! }; eval(s.join(";"))'

real    0m1.512s
user    0m1.251s
sys     0m0.260s

$ time ./miniruby --free-on-shutdown -e 's = []; n = "a"; 1000000.times { s << "$#{ n }=1"; n.succ! }; eval(s.join(";"))'
./miniruby: warning: Free on shutdown is experimental and may be unstable

real    0m1.628s
user    0m1.352s
sys     0m0.276s

I don't even know if the real-world cases could be ever a problem, but I agree it's safe to default off.

Updated by byroot (Jean Boussier) 7 months ago

I don't even know if the real-world cases could be ever a problem

Well, for one thing we are currently experiencing a (moderate) issue caused by slow exit in production. We have some code in Pitchfork that basically daemonize and is expected to be "fast" (Process.wait(fork { fork })), but sometimes take a handful of seconds because if incremental GC was going on, the rb_ec_cleanup will finish GC before exiting.

In this case the numbers you show are no concern to me, but just giving an example of why quick exit is desirable in real world use cases.

So I agree to default to off. The reason I suggest an environment variables (probably under RUBY_GC_), is that if I'm not mistaken this would be used by tools such as ruby_memcheck, so it's easy for these tools to inject an environment variable. Much easier than a command like flag.

Updated by HParker (Adam Hess) 7 months ago

I can't think of a situation where an environment variable is worse then a command line option, so I am going to update the PR to just use a environment variable. It should make testing in environments like Rails apps easier.

Updated by matz (Yukihiro Matsumoto) 6 months ago

Agreed to optionally free all memory at exit. But we haven't used the term “shutdown” for process termination. How about using RUBY_FREE_AT_EXIT environment variable?

Matz.

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