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Date: Tue, 6 Dec 2016 17:02:56 +0000
From: Fiedler Roman <>
To: "" <>
Subject: Opensource Python whitebox code analysis tool recommendations

Hello list,

I just stubled over effects of following programming error due to unwanted 
singleton in Python, bypassing intended process restrictions (allowed number 
of elements in my case) and of course data corruption:

class A:
  def __init__(self, value=[]):
  def show(self):
    print 'IDs value %x, cloned %x' % (id(self.value), id(self.valueCloned))
  def append(self, data):

# Keep reference to avoid garbage collection interference.
# Check references to prohibit optimization.
if objFirst==objNext: raise Exception('Impossible')

As this type of error seems to be more common in code, at least according to 
grep, are there tool recommendations to do automatic analysis of code?

It should trace all non-trivial (not None, int, float, str, ...) constructor 
arguments assignments and catch at least problematic invocations like 
"self.value.append". A problem is, that in many cases just existence of 
constructor like the one before does not automatically lead to 
corruption/concurrency issues. For example the tool should not trigger on this 
(older but still in use) version of django_common/ or at least, when 
triggering, only at "json.dumps()".

class JsonResponse(HttpResponse):
  def __init__(self, data={ }, errors=[ ], success=True):
    data is a map, errors a list
    json = json_response(data=data, errors=errors, success=success)
    super(JsonResponse, self).__init__(json, content_type='application/json')

def json_response(data={ }, errors=[ ], success=True):
    'errors': errors,
    'success': len(errors) == 0 and success,
  return json.dumps(data)

Due to weak typing, it might be too hard to catch all problematic locations, 
e.g. field modified in subclass. Without source code analysis tools available 
to do such checks, I would also try out any approaches where the argument 
value is made immutable thus leading to crash in testbed.

It would be great, if the tool would do the whole analysis more from the 
security than code quality perspective: it is more interesting to audit own 
code and referenced/redistributed third party stuff for things that "are very 
likely to be problematic/vulnerable" than have a quality tool recommending to 
change all those lines, which is not quite realistic.

Kind regards,

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