Deadlock between FileHandler and ConsoleHandler when using customized formatter

Daniel Fuchs daniel.fuchs at
Thu Nov 28 17:21:21 UTC 2013

Hi Shi Jun Zhang,

I agree with Peter.
It is strange that CustomFormatter calls Logger.log. This looks like
the source of the deadlock.

The Logger API can be customized in many ways - and when you can
plugin custom classes and objects you can introduce new opportunity
for deadlocks.

Concerning the Javadoc - I don't know whether that could
be satisfactorily improved. In JDK 8, we have a new annotation,
@implNote - which can give non normative hints on what the
implementation does under the hood. I am not sure whether
documenting the locking mechanism that j.u.l uses behind the
scenes would be appropriate - or even feasible.
I am afraid that trying to describe every lock that is involved
in every possible case along every possible code path would be
hard to achieve.

I believe the fact that Handler.publish() is usually synchronized
is kind of natural: by which I mean that I would naively expect it,
given that you wouldn't want one message to overlap with the next.
Maybe that could be documented.

best regards,

-- daniel

On 11/28/13 1:13 PM, Peter Levart wrote:
> On 11/28/2013 08:53 AM, Shi Jun Zhang wrote:
>> The problem is that we use a logger in CustomerFormatter and this
>> causes Logger.log call Logger.log itself. As FileHandler.publish and
>> StreamHandler.publish is synchronized, but the iteration to call
>> publish method for all handlers in Logger.log is not synchronized, the
>> deadlock happens.
> Hello Shi Jun Zhang,
> Why do you use Logger.log in the CustomerFormatter? What are you
> achieving by it? Do you want to re-route and re-format messages destined
> for one handler to some other Logger and consequently handler?
> On 11/28/2013 08:53 AM, Shi Jun Zhang wrote:
>> This violates the Java doc for java.util.logging.Logger that says "All
>> methods on Logger are multi-thread safe."
> I don't know for sure, but I think that "multi-thread-safe" does not
> imply "dead-lock-safe". It would be good if java logging used less locks
> and be less deadlock-prone though. So we should see if it is possible to
> remove some locks, not to add more locking...
> Regards, Peter

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