27.2. faulthandler — Dump the Python traceback

This module contains functions to dump Python tracebacks explicitly, on a fault, after a timeout, or on a user signal. Call faulthandler.enable() to install fault handlers for the SIGSEGV, SIGFPE, SIGABRT, SIGBUS, and SIGILL signals. You can also enable them at startup by setting the PYTHONFAULTHANDLER environment variable or by using -X faulthandler command line option.

The fault handler is compatible with system fault handlers like Apport or the Windows fault handler. The module uses an alternative stack for signal handlers if the sigaltstack() function is available. This allows it to dump the traceback even on a stack overflow.

The fault handler is called on catastrophic cases and therefore can only use signal-safe functions (e.g. it cannot allocate memory on the heap). Because of this limitation traceback dumping is minimal compared to normal Python tracebacks:

  • Only ASCII is supported. The backslashreplace error handler is used on encoding.
  • Each string is limited to 500 characters.
  • Only the filename, the function name and the line number are displayed. (no source code)
  • It is limited to 100 frames and 100 threads.
  • The order is reversed: the most recent call is shown first.

By default, the Python traceback is written to sys.stderr. To see tracebacks, applications must be run in the terminal. A log file can alternatively be passed to faulthandler.enable().

The module is implemented in C, so tracebacks can be dumped on a crash or when Python is deadlocked.

New in version 3.3.

27.2.1. Dump the traceback

faulthandler.dump_traceback(file=sys.stderr, all_threads=True)

Dump the tracebacks of all threads into file. If all_threads is False, dump only the current thread.

27.2.2. Fault handler state

faulthandler.enable(file=sys.stderr, all_threads=True)

Enable the fault handler: install handlers for the SIGSEGV, SIGFPE, SIGABRT, SIGBUS and SIGILL signals to dump the Python traceback. If all_threads is True, produce tracebacks for every running thread. Otherwise, dump only the current thread.

faulthandler.disable()

Disable the fault handler: uninstall the signal handlers installed by enable().

faulthandler.is_enabled()

Check if the fault handler is enabled.

27.2.3. Dump the tracebacks after a timeout

faulthandler.dump_traceback_later(timeout, repeat=False, file=sys.stderr, exit=False)

Dump the tracebacks of all threads, after a timeout of timeout seconds, or every timeout seconds if repeat is True. If exit is True, call _exit() with status=1 after dumping the tracebacks. (Note _exit() exits the process immediately, which means it doesn’t do any cleanup like flushing file buffers.) If the function is called twice, the new call replaces previous parameters and resets the timeout. The timer has a sub-second resolution.

This function is implemented using a watchdog thread and therefore is not available if Python is compiled with threads disabled.

faulthandler.cancel_dump_traceback_later()

Cancel the last call to dump_traceback_later().

27.2.4. Dump the traceback on a user signal

faulthandler.register(signum, file=sys.stderr, all_threads=True, chain=False)

Register a user signal: install a handler for the signum signal to dump the traceback of all threads, or of the current thread if all_threads is False, into file. Call the previous handler if chain is True.

Not available on Windows.

faulthandler.unregister(signum)

Unregister a user signal: uninstall the handler of the signum signal installed by register(). Return True if the signal was registered, False otherwise.

Not available on Windows.

27.2.5. File descriptor issue

enable(), dump_traceback_later() and register() keep the file descriptor of their file argument. If the file is closed and its file descriptor is reused by a new file, or if os.dup2() is used to replace the file descriptor, the traceback will be written into a different file. Call these functions again each time that the file is replaced.

27.2.6. Example

Example of a segmentation fault on Linux:

$ python -q -X faulthandler
>>> import ctypes
>>> ctypes.string_at(0)
Fatal Python error: Segmentation fault

Current thread 0x00007fb899f39700 (most recent call first):
  File "/home/python/cpython/Lib/ctypes/__init__.py", line 486 in string_at
  File "<stdin>", line 1 in <module>
Segmentation fault