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bug#29826: nondeterministic Broken pipe

From: Ludovic Courtès
Subject: bug#29826: nondeterministic Broken pipe
Date: Sun, 31 Dec 2017 11:11:15 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/25.3 (gnu/linux)


Alex Vong <address@hidden> skribis:

> Mark H Weaver <address@hidden> writes:
>> Alex Vong <address@hidden> writes:
>>> I get the following error when running ``guix --version | head -n 1''. I
>>> can get similar after replacing ``--version'' with ``--help''. Also, the
>>> error is nondeterministic. Any idea?
>> Attempts to write to a pipe that has already been closed on the other
>> end results in EPIPE.  From the write(2) man page:
>>   EPIPE fd is connected to a pipe or socket whose reading end is closed.
>>         When this happens the writing process will also receive a
>>         SIGPIPE signal.  (Thus, the write return value is seen only if
>>         the program catches, blocks or ignores this signal.)
>> In this case, there's a race condition.  The result depends on whether
>> "head -n 1" closes its end of the pipe before or after "guix --version"
>> is finished writing all of its output.  If "head -n 1" closes the pipe
>> first, then "guix --version" will receive EPIPE while attempting to
>> write to it.
>> What normally happens is that the sending process receives SIGPIPE,
>> which simply causes it to exit prematurely without ever receiving this
>> error.  However, since Guix arranges to ignore SIGPIPE in
>> 'initialize-guix' in guix/ui.scm, we receive EPIPE.
>> That's what's happening here.  I'll need to think on how best to fix it.
>>      Regards,
>>        Mark
> Nice explaination as always! I forget to mention that I reported a bug
> of similar flavour before <http://bugs.gnu.org/27017>. I agree that
> thought is needed to fix all instances of this type of bug.

Not sure!  We specifically ignore EPIPE in cases where it matters, such
as for the output of ‘guix package --search’, ‘guix package -A’, etc.
In other cases, it’s probably an error, so it’s worth reporting.


In C such errors are usually ignored, which is nice for shell hackery
but otherwise not so great.


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