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Re: [PATCH] update-server-info: avoid needless overwrites




On Tue, May 14 2019, Jeff King wrote:

> On Sun, May 12, 2019 at 09:16:31AM +0200, Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason wrote:
>
>> > You're probably right (especially because we'd just spent O(n) work
>> > generating the candidate file). But note that I have seen pathological
>> > cases where info/refs was gigabytes.
>>
>> Wouldn't those users be calling update-server-info from something like a
>> post-receive hook where they *know* the refs/packs just got updated?
>>
>> Well, there is "transfer.unpackLimit" to contend with, but that's just
>> for "packs are same", not "refs are same", and that file's presumably
>> much smaller.
>
> Yeah, I think there's sort of an open question here of who is calling
> update-server-info when nothing got updated. I think the only place we
> call it automatically is via receive-pack, but I'd guess Eric runs it as
> part of public-inbox scripts.
>
> I agree that this is probably mostly about info/packs. Not every push
> (or repo update) will create one, but every push _should_ be changing a
> ref (if it succeeds at all).  And I'd guess Eric's interest comes from
> the use of Git in public-inbox, which is going to make frequent but
> small updates.
>
> So this does seem like a really niche case; it avoids one single HTTP
> request of a small that should generally be small (unless you're letting
> your pack list grow really big, but I think there are other issues with
> that) in a case that we know will generate a bunch of other HTTP traffic
> (if somebody updated the server info, there was indeed a push, so you'd
> get a refreshed info/refs and presumably the new loose objects).
>
> That said, the logic to preserve the mtime is pretty straightforward, so
> I don't mind it too much if Eric finds this really improves things for
> him.
>
>> > I don't think our usual dot-locking is great here. What does the
>> > race-loser do when it can't take the lock? It can't just skip its
>> > update, since it needs to make sure that its new pack is mentioned.
>>
>> Right, I mean a *global* .git/I_AM_DOING_WRITES.lock, because there's no
>> way to square the ref backend's notion of per-ref ref lock enabling
>> concurrent pushes with update-server-info's desire to generate metadata
>> showing *all* the refs.
>
> OK. I agree that would work, but it's nasty to delay user-initiated
> operations for ongoing maintenance (another obvious place to want such a
> lock is for pruning, which can take quite a while).
>
>> > So it has to wait and poll until the other process finishes. I guess
>> > maybe that isn't the end of the world.
>>
>> If "its" is update-server-info this won't work. It's possible for two
>> update-server-info processes to be racing in such a way that their
>> for_each_ref() reads a ref at a given value that'll be updated 1
>> millisecond later, but to then have that update's update-server-info
>> "win" the race to update the info files (hypothetical locks on those
>> info files and all).
>>
>> Thus the "info" files will be updated to old values, since we'll see we
>> need changes, but change things to the old values.
>>
>> All things that *can* be dealt with in some clever ways, but I think
>> just further proof nobody's using this for anything serious :)
>>
>> I.e. the "commit A happened before B" but also "commit B's post-* hooks
>> finished after A" is a thing that happens quite frequently (per my
>> logs).
>
> I think it would work because any update-server-info, whether from A or
> B, will take into account the full current repo state (and we don't look
> at that state until we take the lock). So you might get an interleaved
> "A-push, B-push, B-maint, A-maint", but that's OK. A-maint will
> represent B's state when it runs.

Maybe we're talking about different things. I mean the following
sequence:

 1. Refs "X" and "Y" are at X=A Y=A
 2. Concurrent push #1 happens, updating X from A..F
 3. Concurrent push #2 happens, updating Y from A..F
 4. Concurrent push #1 succeeds
 5. Concurrent push #1 starts update-server-info. Reads X=F Y=A
 5. Concurrent push #2 succeeds
 6. Concurrent push #2 starts update-server-info. Reads X=F Y=F
 7. Concurrent push #2's update-server-info finishes, X=F Y=F written to "info"
 8. Concurrent push #1's update-server-info finishes, X=A Y=F written to "info"

I.e. because we have per-ref locks and no lock at all on
update-server-info (but that would need to be a global ref lock, not
just on the "info" files) we can have a push that's already read "X"'s
value as "A" while updating "Y" win the race against an
update-server-info that updated "X"'s value to "F".

It will get fixed on the next push (at least as far as "X"'s value
goes), but until that time dumb clients will falsely see that "X" hasn't
been updated.

>> > I'm not entirely sure of all of the magic that "stale" check is trying
>> > to accomplish. I think there's some bits in there that try to preserve
>> > the existing ordering, but I don't know why anyone would care (and there
>> > are so many cases where the ordering gets thrown out that I think
>> > anybody who does care is likely to get disappointed).
>>
>> My reading of it is that it's premature optimization that can go away
>> (and most of it has already), for "it's cheap" and "if not it's called
>> from the 'I know I had an update'" hook case, as noted above.<
>
> That's my reading, too, but I didn't want to be responsible for
> regressing some obscure case. At least Eric seems to _use_
> update-server-info. ;)

Yeah I agree with that sentiment. I don't use it. I was just wondering
if for those who still want it this wasn't a relatively obscure
use-case, so it should perhaps be hidden behind an option if there were
optimization concerns.