ProcessReaper: single thread reaper

Roger Riggs Roger.Riggs at
Tue Mar 25 21:47:37 UTC 2014

Hi Martin,

Two cases, one current and one future.

In the current case, Process can spawn a process and the process
can exit before Process can register the callback to get the exitValue.
Peter pointed out this race in his comments.
The exitValue needs to be saved (for some time yet to be determined)
to allow the Process to register and get its callback with the exitValue.

The second case is future looking to the case where a child process
not spawned by Process is exiting.  It might be due to a child being
inherited from a dieing child or due to some different subprocess launcher.

When the JEP 102 process work happens, it should be possible to
wait or get called back for those non-spawned processes.

The single (smaller) number of threads has been requested to handle
processes that control a large number of children.  It could be from
a thread pool, either dedicated or common.  The common threadpool
does not expect its tasks to hang for an indefinite period as might
occur when waiting for along running process to exit.

Thanks, Roger

On 3/25/14 2:39 PM, Martin Buchholz wrote:
> What happens if the pid you get back is a subprocess not created by ProcessBuilder?
> +    pid = waitpid(-1, &exitValue, 0);
> ---
> What is the advantage of having a single thread?  Are you just trying 
> to save threads?  The cost of the reaper threads is much lower than 
> usual because of the small stack size.
> On Tue, Mar 25, 2014 at 7:05 AM, Peter Levart <peter.levart at 
> <mailto:peter.levart at>> wrote:
>     On 03/24/2014 10:05 PM, roger riggs wrote:
>>     Hi Rob, Martin, <>.
>>     I've prototyped (for 9) a thread reaper[1] that uses a single
>>     thread to wait for exiting
>>     processes and calling back to the process with the exit status.
>>     the interesting part is getting the exit status back to the
>>     Process that needs it
>>     It needs more testing and hardening.
>>     I had not considered using a signal handler for SIGCHLD but
>>     that's an option,
>>     though we need to be very careful about thread usage.
>>     Roger
>>     p.s. comments on the single thread reaper appreciated (in a new
>>     thread)
>>     [1]
>>     <>
>     Hi Roger,
>     I think I found a little race. Suppose reaper task is still alive
>     and that all consumers have been serviced (consumerCount is 0).
>     The reaper task waits for 500 millis for next consumer to be
>     registered, but times out. Before calling
>     "reaperThread.release()", new consumer comes around and registers
>     itself, also calling runReaper(), but since reaperThread.release()
>     has not yet been called by old reaper task, new reaper task is not
>     submitted to commonPool. The old reaper task finishes, leaving one
>     consumer on the waitingList with no reaper task to service it. If
>     no new consumers get registered, the waiting consumer will never
>     be notified...
>     The simplest solution for this race, I think, would be to have a
>     dedicated long-running thread. It could be spawned lazily, but
>     then it would never finish.
>     Otherwise a nice solution with two lists (exitList/waitList) and
>     avoidance of race with reversed orders between
>     - consumer registration: register on waitList 1st then check
>     exitList, and
>     - exit event dispatch: register on exitList 1st then check waitList
>     ...but the check you use with consumeCount local variable to
>     detect processes spawned by other means (for purposes of logging
>     only) has a race:
>     thread1: Suppose a new consumer is being registered with
>     onExitCall(...), is added on the waitList, but before checking
>     exitList().size() and iterating the exitList, ...
>     thread2: the reaper task detects that the very same process has
>     finished (gets it's pid from waitpid) and adds it's pid to
>     exitList. Then before iterating waitList, ...
>     thread1: iterates the exitList, finds a match and consumes the
>     pid, removing the matching entries from both exitList and
>     waitList. Then ...
>     thread2: the reaper task iterates waitList, doesn't find a
>     matching entry for exitPid, doesn't increment consumeCount and
>     voila: debug log("Unexpected process exit for pid:...").
>     That's enough races for today.
>     Regards, Peter
>>     On 3/24/2014 12:38 AM, Rob McKenna wrote:
>>>     Hi folks,
>>>     Roger Riggs (cc'd) may want to chip in here as he's looking at
>>>     the reaper thread arrangement in 9 at the moment.
>>>     On another note, I too support the merging of those files. I
>>>     didn't think there was much appetite for it at the time so I
>>>     must admit this fell down my todo list. Looking at this bug did
>>>     remind me that its something worth trying though. As per Alan's
>>>     mail, I'm going to tackle it separately if you folks don't mind.
>>>     I'll have a look at Peter's changes (thanks Peter!) as soon as I
>>>     can and see about getting them in.
>>>         -Rob
>>>     On 23/03/14 22:30, Martin Buchholz wrote:
>>>>     On Sun, Mar 23, 2014 at 2:34 AM, Martin Buchholz
>>>>     <martinrb at <mailto:martinrb at>> wrote:
>>>>         We have also thought about whether having reaper threads is
>>>>         necessary.  The Unix rule is that child processes should be
>>>>         waited for, and some thread needs to do that.  There's no
>>>>         way to wait for a set of child pids, or to specify a
>>>>         "completion handler".  Well, you might be able to get the
>>>>         newish waitid() to do what you want, but it looks like it's
>>>>         not sufficient when java is running inside a process that
>>>>         might do independent subprocess creation outside of the JVM.
>>>>     Actually, I take it back.  With sufficient work, it looks like
>>>>     you can get SIGCHLD to give you pid information in siginfo_t
>>>>     si_pid, and that can be used to trigger the reaping.  It looks
>>>>     like waitpid is "async-signal-safe", so we can call it from our
>>>>     signal handler.
>>>>     While we're at it we can fix SIGCHLD handling to do signal
>>>>     chaining, as with other signals.

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