This module provides low-level primitives for working with multiple
threads (a.k.a. light-weight processes or tasks) -- multiple
threads of control sharing their global data space. For
synchronization, simple locks (a.k.a. mutexes or binary
semaphores) are provided.
The module is optional. It is supported on Windows, Linux, SGI
IRIX, Solaris 2.x, as well as on systems that have a POSIX thread
(a.k.a. ``pthread'') implementation. For systems lacking the thread
module, the dummy_thread module is available.
It duplicates this module's interface and can be
used as a drop-in replacement.
It defines the following constant and functions:
Raised on thread-specific errors.
This is the type of lock objects.
function, args[, kwargs])
Start a new thread and return its identifier. The thread executes the function
function with the argument list args (which must be a tuple). The
optional kwargs argument specifies a dictionary of keyword arguments.
When the function returns, the thread silently exits. When the function
terminates with an unhandled exception, a stack trace is printed and
then the thread exits (but other threads continue to run).
Raise a KeyboardInterrupt exception in the main thread. A subthread
can use this function to interrupt the main thread.
New in version 2.3.
Raise the SystemExit exception. When not caught, this
will cause the thread to exit silently.
Return a new lock object. Methods of locks are described below. The
lock is initially unlocked.
Return the `thread identifier' of the current thread. This is a
nonzero integer. Its value has no direct meaning; it is intended as a
magic cookie to be used e.g. to index a dictionary of thread-specific
data. Thread identifiers may be recycled when a thread exits and
another thread is created.
Return the thread stack size used when creating new threads. The
optional size argument specifies the stack size to be used for
subsequently created threads, and must be 0 (use platform or
configured default) or a positive integer value of at least 32,768 (32kB).
If changing the thread stack size is unsupported, a ThreadError
is raised. If the specified stack size is invalid, a ValueError
is raised and the stack size is unmodified. 32kB is currently the minimum
supported stack size value to guarantee sufficient stack space for the
interpreter itself. Note that some platforms may have particular
restrictions on values for the stack size, such as requiring a minimum
stack size > 32kB or requiring allocation in multiples of the system
memory page size - platform documentation should be referred to for
more information (4kB pages are common; using multiples of 4096 for
the stack size is the suggested approach in the absence of more
Availability: Windows, systems with POSIX threads.
New in version 2.5.
Lock objects have the following methods:
Without the optional argument, this method acquires the lock
unconditionally, if necessary waiting until it is released by another
thread (only one thread at a time can acquire a lock -- that's their
reason for existence). If the integer
waitflag argument is present, the action depends on its
value: if it is zero, the lock is only acquired if it can be acquired
immediately without waiting, while if it is nonzero, the lock is
acquired unconditionally as before. The
return value is True if the lock is acquired successfully,
False if not.
Releases the lock. The lock must have been acquired earlier, but not
necessarily by the same thread.
Return the status of the lock: True if it has been acquired by
some thread, False if not.
In addition to these methods, lock objects can also be used via the
with statement, e.g.:
from __future__ import with_statement
a_lock = thread.allocate_lock()
print "a_lock is locked while this executes"
Threads interact strangely with interrupts: the
KeyboardInterrupt exception will be received by an
arbitrary thread. (When the signal
module is available, interrupts always go to the main thread.)
Calling sys.exit() or raising the SystemExit
exception is equivalent to calling exit().
Not all built-in functions that may block waiting for I/O allow other
threads to run. (The most popular ones (time.sleep(),
file.read(), select.select()) work as
It is not possible to interrupt the acquire() method on a lock
-- the KeyboardInterrupt exception will happen after the
lock has been acquired.
When the main thread exits, it is system defined whether the other
threads survive. On SGI IRIX using the native thread implementation,
they survive. On most other systems, they are killed without
executing try ... finally clauses or executing
When the main thread exits, it does not do any of its usual cleanup
(except that try ... finally clauses are honored),
and the standard I/O files are not flushed.