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Date:   Sun, 31 Oct 2021 07:39:23 +0000
From:   Eric Wong <>
To:     Sargun Dhillon <>
        Willem de Bruijn <>
Subject: Re: epoll may leak events on dup

Sargun Dhillon <> wrote:
> I discovered an interesting behaviour in epoll today. If I register the same 
> file twice, under two different file descriptor numbers, and then I close one of 
> the two file descriptors, epoll "leaks" the first event. This is fine, because 
> one would think I could just go ahead and remove the event, but alas, that isn't 
> the case. Some example python code follows to show the issue at hand.
> I'm not sure if this is really considered a "bug" or just "interesting epoll
> behaviour", but in my opinion this is kind of a bug, especially because leaks
> may happen by accident -- especially if files are not immediately freed.

"Interesting epoll behavior" combined with a quirk with the
Python wrapper for epoll.  It passes the FD as
(.data could also be any void *ptr, a u64, or u32).

Not knowing Python myself (but knowing Ruby and Perl5 well); I
assume Python developers chose the safest route in passing an
integer FD for .data.  Passing a pointer to an arbitrary
Perl/Ruby object would cause tricky lifetime issues with the
automatic memory management of those languages; I expect Python
would have the same problem.

> I'm also not sure why epoll events are registered by file, and not just fd.
> Is the expectation that you can share a single epoll amongst multiple
> "users" and register different files that have the same file descriptor

No, the other way around.  Different FDs for the same file.

Having registration keyed by [file+fd] allows users to pass
different pointers for different events to the same file;
which could have its uses.

Registering by FD alone isn't enough; since the epoll FD itself
can be shared across fork (which is of limited usefulness[1]).
Originaly iterations of epoll were keyed only by the file;
with the FD being added later.

> number (at least for purposes other than CRIU). Maybe someone can shed
> light on the behaviour.

CRIU?  Checkpoint/Restore In Userspace?

[1] In contrast, kqueue has a unique close-on-fork behavior
    which greatly simplifies usage from C code (but less so
    for high-level runtimes which auto-close FDs).

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