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array and struct 64-bit Linux change in behavior Python 3.7 and 2.7

On 12/2/19 4:25 PM, Barry Scott wrote:
>> On 2 Dec 2019, at 17:55, Rob Gaddi <rgaddi at highlandtechnology.invalid> wrote:
>> On 12/2/19 9:26 AM, Chris Clark wrote:
>>> Test case:
>>>                import array
>>>                array.array('L', [0])
>>> # x.itemsize == 8  rather than 4
>>> This works fine (returns 4) under Windows Python 3.7.3 64-bit build.
>>> Under Ubuntu; Python 2.7.15rc1, 3.6.5, 3.70b3 64-bit this returns 8. Documentation at https://docs.python.org/3/library/array.html explicitly states 'L' is for size 4.
>>> It impacts all uses types of array (e.g. reading from byte strings).
>>> The struct module is a little different:
>>> import struct
>>> x = struct.pack('L', 0)
>>> # len(x) ===8 rather than 4
>>> This can be worked around by using '=L' - which is not well documented - so this maybe a doc issue.
>>> Wanted to post here for comments before opening a bug at https://bugs.python.org/
>>> Is anyone seeing this under Debian/Ubuntu?
>>> Chris
>> I'd say not a bug, at least in array.  Reading that array documentation you linked, 4 is explicitly the MINIMUM size in bytes, not the guaranteed size.
> I'm wondering how useful it is that for array you can read from a file but have no ideas how many bytes each item needs.
> If I have a file with int32_t  in it I cannot from the docs know how to read that file into an array.
>> The struct situation is, as you said, a bit different.  I believe that with the default native alignment @, you're seeing 4-byte data padded to an 8-byte alignment, not 8-byte data.  That does seem to go against what the struct documentation says, "Padding is only automatically added between successive structure members. No padding is added at the beginning or the end of the encoded struct."
> The 'L' in struct is documented for 3.7 to use 4 bytes, but in fact uses 8, on fedora 31. Doc bug?
>>>> x=struct.pack('L',0x102030405)
>>>> x
> b'\x05\x04\x03\x02\x01\x00\x00\x00'
> Given I have exact control with b, h, i, and q but L is not fixed in size I'm not sure how it can be used with certainty across OS and versions.
> Barry
Actually, you DON'T have exact control with those sizes, it just happens
that all the platforms you are using happen to have the same size for
those types. Welcome to the ambiguity in the C type system, the basic
types are NOT fixed in size. L means 'Long' and as Christian said, that
is 8 byte long on Linux-64 bit. 'L' is exactly the right type for
interfacing with a routine defined as taking a long. The issue is that
you don't know what type a int32_t will be (it might be int, or it might
be long, and long might not be 32 bits, it will be at least 32 bits).

Perhaps array could be extended so that it took '4' for a 4 byte integer
and '8' for an 8 byte integer (maybe 'U4' and 'U8' for unsigned). Might
as well also allow 1 and 2 for completeness for char and short (but
those are currently consistent).

Richard Damon