Friday, October 19, 2007

Pybots updates

Time for the periodical update on the Pybots project. Since my last post in July, John Hampton added a buildslave running Gentoo on x86 and testing Trac and SQLAlchemy. A belated thank you to John.

I also had to disable the tests for bzr dev on my RH 9 buildslave, because for some reason they were leaving a lot of orphaned/zombie processes around.

With help from Jean-Paul Calderone from the Twisted team, we managed to get the Twisted buildslave (running RH 9) past some annoying multicast-related failures. Jean-Paul had me add an explicit iptables rule to allow multicast traffic. The rule is:
iptables -A INPUT -j ACCEPT -d

This seemed to have done the trick. There are some Twisted unit tests that still fail -- some of them are apparently due to the fact that raising string exceptions is now illegal in the Python trunk (2.6). Jean-Paul will investigate and I'll report on the findings -- after all, this type of issues is exactly why we set up the Pybots farm in the first place.

As usual, I end with a plea to people interested in running Pybots buidlslaves to either send a message to the mailing list, or contact me directly at grig at gheorghiu dot net.

Compiling mod_python on RHEL 64 bit

I just went through the fairly painful exercise of compiling mod_python 3.3.1 on a 64-bit RHEL 5 server. RHEL 5 ships with Python 2.4.3 and mod_python 3.2.8. I needed mod_python to be compiled against Python 2.5.1. I had already compiled and installed Python 2.5.1 from source into /usr/local/bin/python2.5. The version of Apache on that server is 2.2.3.

I first tried this:

# tar xvfz mod_python-3.3.1.tar.gz
# cd mod_python-3.3.1
# ./configure --with-apxs==/usr/sbin/apxs --with-python=/usr/local/bin/python2.5
# make which point I got this ugly error:

/usr/lib64/apr-1/build/libtool --silent --mode=link gcc -o \
-rpath /usr/lib64/httpd/modules -module -avoid-version finfoobject.lo \
hlistobject.lo hlist.lo filterobject.lo connobject.lo serverobject.lo util.lo \
tableobject.lo requestobject.lo _apachemodule.lo mod_python.lo\
-L/usr/local/lib/python2.5/config -Xlinker -export-dynamic -lm\
-lpython2.5 -lpthread -ldl -lutil -lm

/usr/bin/ld: /usr/local/lib/python2.5/config/libpython2.5.a(abstract.o):
relocation R_X86_64_32 against `a local symbol' can not be used when making a shared object;
recompile with -fPIC

/usr/local/lib/python2.5/config/libpython2.5.a: could not read symbols: Bad value
collect2: ld returned 1 exit status
apxs:Error: Command failed with rc=65536

I googled around for a bit, and I found this answer courtesy of Martin von Loewis. To quote:

It complains that some object file of Python wasn't compiled
with -fPIC (position-independent code). This is a problem only if
a) you are linking a static library into a shared one (mod_python, in this case), and
b) the object files in the static library weren't compiled with -fPIC, and
c) the system doesn't support position-dependent code in a shared library

As you may have guessed by now, it is really c) which I
blame. On all other modern systems, linking non-PIC objects
into a shared library is supported (albeit sometimes with a
performance loss on startup).

So your options are
a) don't build a static libpython, instead, build Python
with --enable-shared. This will give you
which can then be linked "into" mod_python
b) manually add -fPIC to the list of compiler options when
building Python, by editing the Makefile after configure has run
c) find a way to overcome the platform limitation. E.g. on
Solaris, the linker supports an impure-text option which
instructs it to accept relocations in a shared library.

You might wish that the Python build process supported
option b), i.e. automatically adds -fPIC on Linux/AMD64.
IMO, this would be a bad choice, since -fPIC itself usually
causes a performance loss, and isn't needed when we link
libpython24.a into the interpreter (which is an executable,
not a shared library).

Therefore, I'll close this as "won't fix", and recommend to
go with solution a).

So I proceeded to reconfigure Python 2.5 via './configure --enable-shared', then the usual 'make; make install'. However, I hit another snag right away when trying to run the new python2.5 binary:

# /usr/local/bin/python
python: error while loading shared libraries: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

I remembered from other issues I had similar to this that I have to include the path to (which is /usr/local/lib) in a ldconfig configuration file.

I created /etc/ with the contents '/usr/local/lib' and I ran

# ldconfig

At this point, I was able to run the python2.5 binary successfully.

I then re-configured and compiled mod_python with

# ./configure --with-apxs=/usr/sbin/apxs --with-python=/usr/local/bin/python2.5
# make

Finally, I copied from mod_python-3.3.1/src/.libs to /etc/httpd/modules and restarted Apache.

Not a lot of fun, that's all I can say.

Update 10/23/07

To actually use mod_python, I had to also copy the directory mod_python-3.3.1/lib/python/mod_python to /usr/local/lib/python2.5/site-packages. Otherwise I would get lines like these in the apache error_log when trying to hit a mod_python-enabled location:

[Mon Oct 22 19:41:20 2007] [error] make_obcallback: \
could not import mod_python.apache.\n \
ImportError: No module named mod_python.apache
[Mon Oct 22 19:41:20 2007] [error] make_obcallback:
Python path being used \
"['/usr/local/lib/python2.5/site-packages/setuptools-0.6c6-py2.5.egg', \
'/usr/local/lib/', '/usr/local/lib/python2.5', \
'/usr/local/lib/python2.5/plat-linux2', \
'/usr/local/lib/python2.5/lib-tk', \
'/usr/local/lib/python2.5/lib-dynload', '/usr/local/lib/python2.5/site-packages']".
[Mon Oct 22 19:41:20 2007] [error] get_interpreter: no interpreter callback found.

Update 01/29/08

I owe Graham Dumpleton (the creator of mod_python and mod_wsgi) an update to this post. As he added in the comments, instead of manually copying directories around, I could have simply said:

make install

and the installation would have properly updated the site-packages directory under the correct version of python (2.5 in my case) -- this is because I specified that version in the --with-python option of ./configure.

Another option for the installation, if you want to avoid copying the file in the Apache modules directory, and only want to copy the Python files in the site-packages directory, is:

make install_py_lib

Update 06/18/10

From Will Kessler:

"You might also want to add a little note though. The error message may actually be telling you that Python itself was not built with --enable-shared. To get mod_python-3.3.1 working you need to build Python with -fPIC (use enable-shared) as well."

Thursday, October 04, 2007

What's more important: TDD or acceptance testing?

The answer, as far as I'm concerned, is 'BOTH'. Read these entertaining blog posts to see why: Roy Osherove's JAOO conference writeup (his take on Martin Fowler's accent cracked me up), Martin Jul's take on the pull-no-punches discussions on TDD between Roy O. and Jim Coplien, and also Martin Jul's other blog post on why acceptance tests are important.

As I said before, holistic testing is the way to go.