Does ets:select/2 block the VM?

Shawn Pearce <>
Tue Mar 4 09:59:35 CET 2003

Bjorn Gustavsson <> wrote:
> > Also, the documentation is vague as to what happens if the table owner
> > modifies a protected ets table using insert or delete while other
> > processes are using ets:select/2 or ets:select/3 (select with
> > a limit and continuation).  Is it safe to perform this, or does
> > the reader process have to use ets:safe_fixtable/2 ?
> Sorry for the vague documentation. What should have been in the doc is
> this:
> It is "safe" to use select/2 (or match/match_object) on a table while
> another process is updating it. It will however not be a real transaction.
> The table is fixed during the select-operation, but if an object appears
> in the table it depends on the hash value (in the set/bag/duplicate bag
> case) if the simultaneous select will see it, i.e. if the select has
> already traversed the hash bucket where the new object is inserted, it
> wont see it and vice versa. In the ordered set case, the effect is rougly
> the same, but it depends on the key value itselt if it will be seen (the
> order).
> In the case of select/3, the "automatic fixation" of the table cannot be
> done (cause ets does not know when you're done traversing), so you have to
> use safe_fixtable/2 to achieve the same effect. If you use ordered_set,
> the safe_fixtable/2 is a noop however, it simply isn't needed for trees,
> so strictly speeking it isn't really needed for that table type, but it
> costs very little to use it anyway.

I recently switched to select/3, so this is good to know (that I must
safe_fixtable/2 before and after).  Thanks.


  Q:	What's buried in Grant's tomb?
  A:	A corpse.

More information about the erlang-questions mailing list