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.

Modifying EC2 security groups via AWS Lambda functions

One task that comes up again and again is adding, removing or updating source CIDR blocks in various security groups in an EC2 infrastructur...