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Re: Why not move Apt to a relational database

On Sun, 03 Jun 2007 10:55:01 +0100
Justin Emmanuel <justinemmanuel@gmail.com> wrote:

> I am brand new to this mailing list, I joined it because I had an idea
> that I would like to have considered. Moving apt to a relational
> database, for several reasons.

What about embedded systems that can barely run sqlite?

apt needs to be part of the debian-installer, why lumber the installer
with postgres or mysql or whatever?
> Based on a relational database it will run faster, also there should be
> some more data stored about the programs to facilitate system restoring.

That doesn't justify adding 10-20Mb of extra code to a rootfs -
especially when an Emdebian rootfs may need to be <5Mb in total.

> The data should be backed up automatically and regularly, so that if the
> database is stored on another computer and first computer has a hardware
> failure, the data from the backup can be used to completely restore the
> computer to its status again. 

The man page for apt does specify that the cache must not be treated as
permanent. It is just a cache, there is no need to back it up or store
it in another form. It should be regenerated from dpkg data.

> It should be a relational database that
> contains checksums of the compressed and uncompressed state of files
> that will be installed. So that if there is a problem with the computer
> and something is segfaulting, every file on the computer can be checked
> against this information, including freshly downloaded files, so that
> they can find out if any of them are corrupt and need to be replaced.

Packages already include md5sums and a segfault isn't usually down to a
corrupt ELF file, it is down to a bug in the source code.

> Then apt can automatically download the file. 

Sorry, that won't work. The package will still segfault because the
source code has not been patched. Segfaults need bug reports which then
need patches and a new Debian release or a new upstream release. apt
can only fix a segfault in an application by downgrading to the
previous version and it can do that already.

> I have had to numerous
> times manually edit the text database that apt writes to because
> something had been changed to "." when it should have been ">". 

? Specific examples ? Did you make a bug report?

Is there some reason why this change would only affect you? Editing a
cache file (that will subsequently be regenerated) seems a strange way
to "fix" anything. If this is a bug that affects other people, it
should be reported as a bug in the BTS.

Specifically which file are you talking about? There is rarely
any point writing to anything in /var/cache/apt.

> So what do you think? Is this the correct mailing list to send this idea
> to?

Right mailing list but, IMHO, not a particularly good idea. Sorry.


Neil Williams

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