resource — Resource usage information

This module provides basic mechanisms for measuring and controlling system resources utilized by a program.

Availability: Unix, not WASI.

Symbolic constants are used to specify particular system resources and to request usage information about either the current process or its children.

An OSError is raised on syscall failure.

exception resource.error

A deprecated alias of OSError.

Changed in version 3.3: Following PEP 3151, this class was made an alias of OSError.

Resource Limits

Resources usage can be limited using the setrlimit() function described below. Each resource is controlled by a pair of limits: a soft limit and a hard limit. The soft limit is the current limit, and may be lowered or raised by a process over time. The soft limit can never exceed the hard limit. The hard limit can be lowered to any value greater than the soft limit, but not raised. (Only processes with the effective UID of the super-user can raise a hard limit.)

The specific resources that can be limited are system dependent. They are described in the getrlimit(2) man page. The resources listed below are supported when the underlying operating system supports them; resources which cannot be checked or controlled by the operating system are not defined in this module for those platforms.


Constant used to represent the limit for an unlimited resource.


Returns a tuple (soft, hard) with the current soft and hard limits of resource. Raises ValueError if an invalid resource is specified, or error if the underlying system call fails unexpectedly.

resource.setrlimit(resource, limits)

Sets new limits of consumption of resource. The limits argument must be a tuple (soft, hard) of two integers describing the new limits. A value of RLIM_INFINITY can be used to request a limit that is unlimited.

Raises ValueError if an invalid resource is specified, if the new soft limit exceeds the hard limit, or if a process tries to raise its hard limit. Specifying a limit of RLIM_INFINITY when the hard or system limit for that resource is not unlimited will result in a ValueError. A process with the effective UID of super-user can request any valid limit value, including unlimited, but ValueError will still be raised if the requested limit exceeds the system imposed limit.

setrlimit may also raise error if the underlying system call fails.

VxWorks only supports setting RLIMIT_NOFILE.

Raises an auditing event resource.setrlimit with arguments resource, limits.

resource.prlimit(pid, resource[, limits])

Combines setrlimit() and getrlimit() in one function and supports to get and set the resources limits of an arbitrary process. If pid is 0, then the call applies to the current process. resource and limits have the same meaning as in setrlimit(), except that limits is optional.

When limits is not given the function returns the resource limit of the process pid. When limits is given the resource limit of the process is set and the former resource limit is returned.

Raises ProcessLookupError when pid can’t be found and PermissionError when the user doesn’t have CAP_SYS_RESOURCE for the process.

Raises an auditing event resource.prlimit with arguments pid, resource, limits.

Availability: Linux >= 2.6.36 with glibc >= 2.13.

Added in version 3.4.

These symbols define resources whose consumption can be controlled using the setrlimit() and getrlimit() functions described below. The values of these symbols are exactly the constants used by C programs.

The Unix man page for getrlimit(2) lists the available resources. Note that not all systems use the same symbol or same value to denote the same resource. This module does not attempt to mask platform differences — symbols not defined for a platform will not be available from this module on that platform.


The maximum size (in bytes) of a core file that the current process can create. This may result in the creation of a partial core file if a larger core would be required to contain the entire process image.


The maximum amount of processor time (in seconds) that a process can use. If this limit is exceeded, a SIGXCPU signal is sent to the process. (See the signal module documentation for information about how to catch this signal and do something useful, e.g. flush open files to disk.)


The maximum size of a file which the process may create.


The maximum size (in bytes) of the process’s heap.


The maximum size (in bytes) of the call stack for the current process. This only affects the stack of the main thread in a multi-threaded process.


The maximum resident set size that should be made available to the process.


The maximum number of processes the current process may create.


The maximum number of open file descriptors for the current process.




The maximum address space which may be locked in memory.


The largest area of mapped memory which the process may occupy.

Availability: FreeBSD >= 11.


The maximum area (in bytes) of address space which may be taken by the process.


The number of bytes that can be allocated for POSIX message queues.

Availability: Linux >= 2.6.8.

Added in version 3.4.


The ceiling for the process’s nice level (calculated as 20 - rlim_cur).

Availability: Linux >= 2.6.12.

Added in version 3.4.


The ceiling of the real-time priority.

Availability: Linux >= 2.6.12.

Added in version 3.4.


The time limit (in microseconds) on CPU time that a process can spend under real-time scheduling without making a blocking syscall.

Availability: Linux >= 2.6.25.

Added in version 3.4.


The number of signals which the process may queue.

Availability: Linux >= 2.6.8.

Added in version 3.4.


The maximum size (in bytes) of socket buffer usage for this user. This limits the amount of network memory, and hence the amount of mbufs, that this user may hold at any time.

Availability: FreeBSD.

Added in version 3.4.


The maximum size (in bytes) of the swap space that may be reserved or used by all of this user id’s processes. This limit is enforced only if bit 1 of the vm.overcommit sysctl is set. Please see tuning(7) for a complete description of this sysctl.

Availability: FreeBSD.

Added in version 3.4.


The maximum number of pseudo-terminals created by this user id.

Availability: FreeBSD.

Added in version 3.4.


The maximum number of kqueues this user id is allowed to create.

Availability: FreeBSD >= 11.

Added in version 3.10.

Resource Usage

These functions are used to retrieve resource usage information:


This function returns an object that describes the resources consumed by either the current process or its children, as specified by the who parameter. The who parameter should be specified using one of the RUSAGE_* constants described below.

A simple example:

from resource import *
import time

# a non CPU-bound task

# a CPU-bound task
for i in range(10 ** 8):
   _ = 1 + 1

The fields of the return value each describe how a particular system resource has been used, e.g. amount of time spent running is user mode or number of times the process was swapped out of main memory. Some values are dependent on the clock tick internal, e.g. the amount of memory the process is using.

For backward compatibility, the return value is also accessible as a tuple of 16 elements.

The fields ru_utime and ru_stime of the return value are floating-point values representing the amount of time spent executing in user mode and the amount of time spent executing in system mode, respectively. The remaining values are integers. Consult the getrusage(2) man page for detailed information about these values. A brief summary is presented here:






time in user mode (float seconds)



time in system mode (float seconds)



maximum resident set size



shared memory size



unshared memory size



unshared stack size



page faults not requiring I/O



page faults requiring I/O



number of swap outs



block input operations



block output operations



messages sent



messages received



signals received



voluntary context switches



involuntary context switches

This function will raise a ValueError if an invalid who parameter is specified. It may also raise error exception in unusual circumstances.


Returns the number of bytes in a system page. (This need not be the same as the hardware page size.)

The following RUSAGE_* symbols are passed to the getrusage() function to specify which processes information should be provided for.


Pass to getrusage() to request resources consumed by the calling process, which is the sum of resources used by all threads in the process.


Pass to getrusage() to request resources consumed by child processes of the calling process which have been terminated and waited for.


Pass to getrusage() to request resources consumed by both the current process and child processes. May not be available on all systems.


Pass to getrusage() to request resources consumed by the current thread. May not be available on all systems.

Added in version 3.2.