BerkeleyDB locking subsystem

Dirk Koopman djk at
Mon Jul 31 17:30:39 BST 2006

On Mon, 2006-07-31 at 16:41 +0200, Thomas Busch wrote:
> Hi,
> I'm using the CPAN package BerkeleyDB (not DB_File) to share
> hashes between processes. The Berkeley environment I use for
> this purpose is initialized with the flags DB_CREATE, DB_INIT_CDB,
> and DB_INIT_MPOOL. It all works fine, except when one of the processes
> crashes during a read or write, the Berkeley Hash gets
> locked forever.

Here you have the great conundrum of using Berkeley, of any vintage or
CPAN package. It drives me around the twist. One of the things you can
do to mitigate your problem is to hook all the signals you can to make
sure that you close your BDB connection before aborting. It is by no
means perfect, but it cuts down a large portion of the problem.

It is alleged that they have finally done something about this in the
very latest release of Berkeley - but I have got so bitter and twisted
with them that I have not tried nor tested it.

> Is there any way to avoid locking altogether when using concurrent
> access to a BerkeleyDB, so that a crash of a process wouldn't affect
> the BerkeleyDB ? If not is there a way to let locks expire. And if
> this doesn't work what are my alternatives.

No. It uses a common memory pool and its own internal buffering system
and it is this that causes all the corruptions and stuff. You can
recover from a program failure, but only by disconnecting all the non
failed processes and then running the recovery command. 

Use sqlite 3.x (as a suggestion) in simple key and value mode (ie tables
have one key field and one value field and you just use very simple DBI
SQL to access it.

So far, it seems very reliable and it isn't noticeably slower than


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