The linecache module is used extensively throughout the Python standard library when dealing with Python source files. The implementation of the cache simply holds the contents of files, parsed into separate lines, in a dictionary in memory. The API returns the requested line(s) by indexing into a list. The time savings is from (repeatedly) reading the file and parsing lines to find the one desired. This is especially useful when looking for multiple lines from the same file, such as when producing a traceback for an error report.