|Syntactic Confectionery Delight|
A flock()alypse nowby ferrency (Deacon)
|on Jul 02, 2002 at 13:49 UTC||Need Help??|
ferrency has asked for the
wisdom of the Perl Monks concerning the following question:
Turnstep presents a bunch of great information in his File Locking tutorial. However, there is at least one file locking technique which I have not seen anyone use on perlmonks. I'm not sure if that's because there's something wrong with it, or because I haven't been looking hard enough.
First, some background. As turnstep points out, this is Bad (tm):
And, since you need to give flock() a file handle, it's not completely obvious how to read, process, and then write a file while maintaining a lock on it. This is an example of how Not to do it:
Turnstep's tutorial presented the standard technique to fix this: use a separate "semaphore file" to keep track of locking:
The main problem with this is, it "doesn't play well with others." If you are trying to cooperate with other programs which you have no control over, you may not have the luxury of being able to use a semaphore file with a different name.
To me, the solution to this seems obvious. But I haven't seen this on perlmonks before, so my paranoia makes me think there's something wrong with it. I use the file itself as its own "semaphore file." This should work fine, since flock() locks are only advisory, not forced locks (that is, you can choose to ignore them and the OS won't even slap you on the wrist for it).
Now we don't have any race conditions, because we're not doing anything with the_file before we get the lock, and we're not dropping the lock before we're completely finished with processing the file. We also behave well in relation to other programs which may be acquiring locks on the same file. We aren't creating stray lock files lying around which may need to be cleaned up periodically. It seems better in almost every respect... but does it work?
Thank you for your comments on this.