hgwebdir: avoid systematic full garbage collection

Authored by gracinet.


hgwebdir: avoid systematic full garbage collection

Forcing a systematic full garbage collection upon each request
can serioulsy harm performance. This is reported as

With this change we're performing the full collection according
to a new setting, experimental.web.full-garbage-collection-rate.
The default value is 1, which doesn't change the behavior and will
allow us to test on real use cases. If the value is 0, no full garbage
collection occurs.

Regardless of the value of the setting, a partial garbage collection
still occurs upon each request (not attempting to collect objects from
the oldest generation). This should be enough to take care of
reference cycles that have been created by the last request
(assessment of this requires changing the setting, not to be 1).

In my experience chasing memory leaks in Mercurial servers,
the full collection never reclaimed any memory, but this is with
Python 3 and biased towards small repositories.

On the other hand, as explained in the Python developer docs [1],
frequent full collections are very harmful in terms of performance if
lots of objects survive the collection, and hence stay in the
oldest generation. Note that gc.collect() is indeed trying to
collect the oldest generation [2]. This happens usually in two cases:

  • unwanted lingering objects (i.e., an actual memory leak that the GC cannot do anything about). Sadly, we have lots of those these days.
  • desireable long-term objects, typically in caches (not inner caches carried by repositories, which should be collected with them). This is a subject of interest for the Heptapod project.

In short, the flat rate that this change still permits is
probably a bad idea in most cases, and the default value can
be tweaked later on (or even be set to 0) according to experiments
in the wild.

The test is inspired from test-hgwebdir-paths.py

[1] https://devguide.python.org/garbage_collector/#collecting-the-oldest-generation
[2] https://docs.python.org/3/library/gc.html#gc.collect

Differential Revision: https://phab.mercurial-scm.org/D11204