Python [Errno 13] Permission denied


If you are facing issues like this when using python libraries like “queue = multiproccesing.Queue()”, you may face this issue

Traceback (most recent call last):
File "<stdin>", line 1, in <module>
File "/usr/local/intel/2020/intelpython3/lib/python3.7/multiprocessing/", line 102, in Queue
return Queue(maxsize, ctx=self.get_context())
File "/usr/local/intel/2020/intelpython3/lib/python3.7/multiprocessing/", line 42, in __init__
self._rlock = ctx.Lock()
File "/usr/local/intel/2020/intelpython3/lib/python3.7/multiprocessing/", line 67, in Lock
return Lock(ctx=self.get_context())
File "/usr/local/intel/2020/intelpython3/lib/python3.7/multiprocessing/", line 162, in __init__
SemLock.__init__(self, SEMAPHORE, 1, 1, ctx=ctx)
File "/usr/local/intel/2020/intelpython3/lib/python3.7/multiprocessing/", line 59, in __init__
PermissionError: [Errno 13] Permission denied

When executing the code with root privilege, it was working fine, but a normal user doesn’t have permission to access shared memory.


You can counter-check the issue by checking /dev/shm

% ls -ld /dev/shm

Change Permission to 777

% chmod 777 /dev/shm

Turn on the sticky bit

% chmod +t /dev/shm
% ls -ld /dev/shm
drwxrwxrwt 4 root root 520 Mar 5 13:32 /dev/shm

Another way to calculate shared memory swapping

Using ipcs utlities to find out information on shared memory utilisation which can be useful for analysing the performance of the system. Let’s says you want to measure how much memory has been swapped.

% ipcs -mu
------ Shared Memory Status --------
segments allocated 55
pages allocated 6655333
pages resident  5661034
pages swapped   947522
Swap performance: 0 attempts     0 successes

-m is “information about active shared memory segments”
-u is “Show status summary”

You would need PAGE Memory

getconf PAGESIZE

To provide us with the information in MB

echo "$((947522*4096/1024/1024)) MB"
3701 MB

Clearing memory cache

First thing you need is kernel 2.6.16

The command to clear the memory cache.

# sync
# echo 3 > /proc/sys/vm/drop_caches

sync -> refers to the tells the kernel
that you want the data written to the disk

echo 3 > /proc/sys/vm/drop_caches -> “To free pagecache, dentries and inodes:”

From the article Invalidating the Linux buffer cache ,

To free pagecache:    
# echo 1 > /proc/sys/vm/drop_caches

To free dentries and inodes:
# echo 2 > /proc/sys/vm/drop_caches

To free pagecache, dentries and inodes:
# echo 3 > /proc/sys/vm/drop_caches


  1. Invalidating the Linux buffer cache
  2. HOWTO: Clear filesystem memory cache
  3. drop_caches

Tweaking the Linux Kernel to manage memory and swap usage

This writeup is assuming you are tweaking to the minimise swap and maximise physical memory. This tweaking should be considered especially for High Performance MPI applications where good low latency parallelism between nodes is very essential.

In addition, this writeup also help you to “kill” runaway memory  applications

1. Preventing Swapping unless absolutely necessary

If you have lots of RAM, you may want to use RAM as I/O caches and buffers. The benefits of using RAM as I/O caches and buffers are definitely speed when compared to swapping data.

To review the value of swappiness can be seen by running the following commands

# cat /proc/sys/vm/swappiness

To modified by running the following command (0 will prevent swapping unless absolutely required)

# echo 0 > /proc/sys/vm/swappiness

To make the settings permanent, edit /etc/sysctl.conf.


Remember to reboot.

2. Memory Management – Preventing the kernel from dishing out more memory than required

I think for us who have been running computational jobs have seen the memory got eaten up by some buggy or stray applications. Hopefully the kernel kills it. But somehow you must have seen that the kernel may not have kill the culprit and the server go to a linbo.

Let’s say if we wish to ensure that the kernel only gives out memory to processes equal to the physical memory, then we have to do the following at /etc/sysctl.conf or /etc/sysctl.d/myapp.conf

My assumption is that you have 10GB of swap and 20GB of memory and you wish the kernel to stop handling processes at  18GB RAM, then the calculation should be (swap size +  0.4 * RAM size)

So at /etc/sysctlf.conf, the configuration will be

vm.overcommit_memory = 2
vm.overcommit_ratio = 40

Note: The ratio is (40/100). For explanation of vm.overcommit_memory =2. Do look at Tweaking Linux Kernel Overcommit Behaviour for memory

Once the memory hits 18GB, the so-called OOM killer of the Linux kernel will kick in.

Another calculation example is that your RAM size and  SWAP size are the same and you wish exactly the physical memory to be used only. then

vm.overcommit_memory = 2
vm.overcommit_ratio = 0

For more information, do read

  1. Preventing Swapping unless absolutely necessary (Linux Toolkit)
  2. Speeding up boot time by Optimising Physical Memory and Swap (Linux Toolkit)
  3. Memory Management – Preventing the kernel from dishing out more memory than required (Linux Toolkit)
  4. Tweaking Linux Kernel Overcommit Behaviour for memory (Linux Toolkit)