3.1 sys -- System-specific parameters and functions

This module provides access to some variables used or maintained by the interpreter and to functions that interact strongly with the interpreter. It is always available.

The list of command line arguments passed to a Python script. argv[0] is the script name (it is operating system dependent whether this is a full pathname or not). If the command was executed using the "-c" command line option to the interpreter, argv[0] is set to the string '-c'. If no script name was passed to the Python interpreter, argv has zero length.

A tuple of strings giving the names of all modules that are compiled into this Python interpreter. (This information is not available in any other way -- modules.keys() only lists the imported modules.)

A string containing the copyright pertaining to the Python interpreter.

Integer specifying the handle of the Python DLL. Availability: Windows.

exc_info ()
This function returns a tuple of three values that give information about the exception that is currently being handled. The information returned is specific both to the current thread and to the current stack frame. If the current stack frame is not handling an exception, the information is taken from the calling stack frame, or its caller, and so on until a stack frame is found that is handling an exception. Here, ``handling an exception'' is defined as ``executing or having executed an except clause.'' For any stack frame, only information about the most recently handled exception is accessible.

If no exception is being handled anywhere on the stack, a tuple containing three None values is returned. Otherwise, the values returned are (type, value, traceback). Their meaning is: type gets the exception type of the exception being handled (a string or class object); value gets the exception parameter (its associated value or the second argument to raise, which is always a class instance if the exception type is a class object); traceback gets a traceback object (see the Reference Manual) which encapsulates the call stack at the point where the exception originally occurred.

Warning: assigning the traceback return value to a local variable in a function that is handling an exception will cause a circular reference. This will prevent anything referenced by a local variable in the same function or by the traceback from being garbage collected. Since most functions don't need access to the traceback, the best solution is to use something like type, value = sys.exc_info()[:2]to extract only the exception type and value. If you do need the traceback, make sure to delete it after use (best done with a try ... finally statement) or to call exc_info() in a function that does not itself handle an exception.

Deprecated since release 1.5. Use exc_info() instead.

Since they are global variables, they are not specific to the current thread, so their use is not safe in a multi-threaded program. When no exception is being handled, exc_type is set to None and the other two are undefined.

A string giving the site-specific directory prefix where the platform-dependent Python files are installed; by default, this is also '/usr/local'. This can be set at build time with the --exec-prefix argument to the configure script. Specifically, all configuration files (e.g. the config.h header file) are installed in the directory exec_prefix + '/lib/pythonversion/config', and shared library modules are installed in exec_prefix + '/lib/pythonversion/lib-dynload', where version is equal to version[:3].

A string giving the name of the executable binary for the Python interpreter, on systems where this makes sense.

exit ([arg])
Exit from Python. This is implemented by raising the SystemExit exception, so cleanup actions specified by finally clauses of try statements are honored, and it is possible to intercept the exit attempt at an outer level. The optional argument arg can be an integer giving the exit status (defaulting to zero), or another type of object. If it is an integer, zero is considered ``successful termination'' and any nonzero value is considered ``abnormal termination'' by shells and the like. Most systems require it to be in the range 0-127, and produce undefined results otherwise. Some systems have a convention for assigning specific meanings to specific exit codes, but these are generally underdeveloped; Unix programs generally use 2 for command line syntax errors and 1 for all other kind of errors. If another type of object is passed, None is equivalent to passing zero, and any other object is printed to sys.stderr and results in an exit code of 1. In particular, sys.exit("some error message") is a quick way to exit a program when an error occurs.

This value is not actually defined by the module, but can be set by the user (or by a program) to specify a clean-up action at program exit. When set, it should be a parameterless function. This function will be called when the interpreter exits. Note: the exit function is not called when the program is killed by a signal, when a Python fatal internal error is detected, or when os._exit() is called.

getrefcount (object)
Return the reference count of the object. The count returned is generally one higher than you might expect, because it includes the (temporary) reference as an argument to getrefcount().

These three variables are not always defined; they are set when an exception is not handled and the interpreter prints an error message and a stack traceback. Their intended use is to allow an interactive user to import a debugger module and engage in post-mortem debugging without having to re-execute the command that caused the error. (Typical use is "import pdb; pdb.pm()" to enter the post-mortem debugger; see the chapter ``The Python Debugger'' for more information.)

The meaning of the variables is the same as that of the return values from exc_info() above. (Since there is only one interactive thread, thread-safety is not a concern for these variables, unlike for exc_type etc.)

The largest positive integer supported by Python's regular integer type. This is at least 2**31-1. The largest negative integer is -maxint-1 - the asymmetry results from the use of 2's complement binary arithmetic.

This is a dictionary that maps module names to modules which have already been loaded. This can be manipulated to force reloading of modules and other tricks. Note that removing a module from this dictionary is not the same as calling reload() on the corresponding module object.

A list of strings that specifies the search path for modules. Initialized from the environment variable $PYTHONPATH, or an installation-dependent default.

The first item of this list, path[0], is the directory containing the script that was used to invoke the Python interpreter. If the script directory is not available (e.g. if the interpreter is invoked interactively or if the script is read from standard input), path[0] is the empty string, which directs Python to search modules in the current directory first. Notice that the script directory is inserted before the entries inserted as a result of $PYTHONPATH.

This string contains a platform identifier, e.g. 'sunos5' or 'linux1'. This can be used to append platform-specific components to path, for instance.

A string giving the site-specific directory prefix where the platform independent Python files are installed; by default, this is the string '/usr/local'. This can be set at build time with the --prefix argument to the configure script. The main collection of Python library modules is installed in the directory prefix + '/lib/pythonversion' while the platform independent header files (all except config.h) are stored in prefix + '/include/pythonversion', where version is equal to version[:3].

Strings specifying the primary and secondary prompt of the interpreter. These are only defined if the interpreter is in interactive mode. Their initial values in this case are '>>> ' and '... '. If a non-string object is assigned to either variable, its str() is re-evaluated each time the interpreter prepares to read a new interactive command; this can be used to implement a dynamic prompt.

setcheckinterval (interval)
Set the interpreter's ``check interval''. This integer value determines how often the interpreter checks for periodic things such as thread switches and signal handlers. The default is 10, meaning the check is performed every 10 Python virtual instructions. Setting it to a larger value may increase performance for programs using threads. Setting it to a value <= 0 checks every virtual instruction, maximizing responsiveness as well as overhead.

setprofile (profilefunc)
Set the system's profile function, which allows you to implement a Python source code profiler in Python. See the chapter on the Python Profiler. The system's profile function is called similarly to the system's trace function (see settrace()), but it isn't called for each executed line of code (only on call and return and when an exception occurs). Also, its return value is not used, so it can just return None.

settrace (tracefunc)
Set the system's trace function, which allows you to implement a Python source code debugger in Python. See section ``How It Works'' in the chapter on the Python Debugger.

File objects corresponding to the interpreter's standard input, output and error streams. stdin is used for all interpreter input except for scripts but including calls to input() and raw_input(). stdout is used for the output of print and expression statements and for the prompts of input() and raw_input(). The interpreter's own prompts and (almost all of) its error messages go to stderr. stdout and stderr needn't be built-in file objects: any object is acceptable as long as it has a write() method that takes a string argument. (Changing these objects doesn't affect the standard I/O streams of processes executed by os.popen(), os.system() or the exec*() family of functions in the os module.)

These objects contain the original values of stdin, stderr and stdout at the start of the program. They are used during finalization, and could be useful to restore the actual files to known working file objects in case they have been overwritten with a broken object.

When this variable is set to an integer value, it determines the maximum number of levels of traceback information printed when an unhandled exception occurs. The default is 1000. When set to 0 or less, all traceback information is suppressed and only the exception type and value are printed.

A string containing the version number of the Python interpreter plus additional information on the build number and compiler used. It has a value of the form 'version (#build_number, build_date, build_time) [compiler]'. The first three characters are used to identify the version in the installation directories (where appropriate on each platform). An example:

>>> import sys
>>> sys.version
'1.5.2 (#0 Apr 13 1999, 10:51:12) [MSC 32 bit (Intel)]'

The version number used to form registry keys on Windows platforms. This is stored as string resource 1000 in the Python DLL. The value is normally the first three characters of version. It is provided in the sys module for informational purposes; modifying this value has no effect on the registry keys used by Python. Availability: Windows.

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