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deadlock problems with foreign keys

From: "Mario Weilguni" <mario(dot)weilguni(at)icomedias(dot)com>
To: "Postgresql Mailinglist (E-Mail)" <pgsql-hackers(at)postgresql(dot)org>
Subject: deadlock problems with foreign keys
Date: 2002-03-28 14:44:48
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Lists: pgsql-hackers
I've a severe problem with deadlocks in postgres, when using referential integrity it's quite easy to trigger deadlocks. I think the may be a bug in ri_trigger.c (discussed later). Here's some short example:

create table languages (
  id        integer not null,
  name      text    not null,
  primary key(id)

create table entry (
  id        integer not null,
  lang_id   integer,
  sometext  text,
  primary key (id),
  foreign key ( lang_id ) references languages (id)

insert into languages values (1, 'english');
insert into languages values (2, 'german');

insert into entry values (1, 1, 'text 1');
insert into entry values (2, 1, 'text 2');

transaction A: begin;
transaction A: update entry set sometext='text 1.1' where id=1;
transaction A: .... do more time-consuming processing here...
meanwhile, B: begin; 
           B: update entry set sometext='text 2.1' where id=2;

-- both processes hang now

I think this is too much locking here, because the logfile show's something like this:
'select 1 from "languages" where id=$1 for update' (2 times).

Now I've a lot of tables (around 30) and use referential integrity a lot on ~10 columns (language, country....) , and with more fields it's very easy to deadlock the whole system (it happens a lot in my web applicaiton with ~20 concorrent users).

IMHO the "select ... for update" on languages is not necessary, since I do not want to update "lang_id", but I might be wrong. The other problem is, that this will make postgres in benchmarks very slow (with many concurrent connections), at least if the application is not trivial.

IMO the problem is in ri_trigger.c around line 390:
		/* ----------
		 * The query string built is
		 *	SELECT 1 FROM ONLY <pktable> WHERE pkatt1 = $1 [AND ...]
		 * The type id's for the $ parameters are those of the
		 * corresponding FK attributes. Thus, SPI_prepare could
		 * eventually fail if the parser cannot identify some way
		 * how to compare these two types by '='.
		 * ----------

Any ideas if this is a bug or simply strict SQL standard? 

Best regards,
	Mario Weilguni


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Subject: Re: deadlock problems with foreign keys
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