I make a file called run_gvim_thing.sh in my home dir. Inside of that is the command gvim myfile.py && echo "yay". If I run that file from terminal it launches gvim with myfile.py. If I run that file from ex mode it does nothing but echos "yay"

Why is this?

When logging gvim for errors I caught this:

Fatal Python error: Py_Initialize: can't initialize sys standard streams
OSError: [Errno 9] Bad file descriptor
  • I don't know why you'd need to start a new vim instance from vim: chances are you are solving a XY problem and you should use buffers and tabs. However you might be interested by this answer which suggests that maybe you could use :!start gvim in command line mode.
    – statox
    Jun 29, 2017 at 7:42
  • I open a new window for each function that I work with, and I position the windows matching the call stack from left to right. I put tests below their files. I find it much more effective than tabs/buffers/splits when using a large screen. This workflow follows the LightTable ideas. I also have a plugin to open the function under the cursor in a new window which enhances the workflow a lot.
    – CornSmith
    Jun 29, 2017 at 14:52
  • start is a windows only command. On OSX there's open but it doesn't handle args beyond the second one even with the --args command. It's frankly broken. However yesterday I did come up with a solution by running a python service with zmq and listening for commands and running them. I can pass it the gvim file.py command from vim and it'll open it. It's janky but it works.
    – CornSmith
    Jun 29, 2017 at 14:54
  • 1
    I've made some more progress towards an actual fix though. I tried running this from gvim: :!gvim file.py &> error.log and I got this error in the output: Fatal Python error: Py_Initialize: can't initialize sys standard streams OSError: [Errno 9] Bad file descriptor Current thread 0x00007fffd35633c0 (most recent call first) Vim: Caught deadly signal ABRT Vim: Finished.
    – CornSmith
    Jun 30, 2017 at 14:56
  • 1
    AND I found that if I comment out my vimrc's python related code (which I should have done to start with) it works as intended and I can open new gvim windows for days. So now this is narrowed down to a python problem. I'll continue after work today.
    – CornSmith
    Jun 30, 2017 at 14:58

1 Answer 1


I put this at the top of the .vimrc to fix it. But instead of calling :!gvim some_file.py you need to call Runit('gvim some_file.py')

python3 << EOF
from multiprocessing import Process
import os

def worker(x):

def do(x):
  Process(target=worker, args=(x,)).start()
function! Runit(command)
python3 << EOF
command = vim.eval('g:command')

After doing some error logging it was clear that the problem was something to do with python3 not releasing some file if called from a vim instance. So I thought maybe spawning a new python instance from vim and calling it from there would work, and it did.

Hopefully the MacVim people patch this up.

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