Re: dpkg speed (was: Re: PROPOSAL: Extrafiles)
On 10 Jun 1998, Jukka Neppius wrote:
> I don't even have source for current dpkg:) I only made simple (~300
> lines) test program to read 'available'. It finds every tag (Package,
> Installed-Size, ...) for every package and qsorts packages. After
> sort most operations should be fast. It should have enough error
> checking. It probably could be used in dpkg or in dselect with few
> small modifications (data structure). I could mail it to anyone who
> wants to test it.
Hmm, well sorting and finding tags is not really comparable to the parsing
that is required by at least apt, take a look at
That is the in-memory (and cached on disk) structure that the packages
files are broken into.
The cache generator in APT uses a few faulty assumptions so isn't
terribly fast, I have a design for one that should be a few magnitudes
faster but I don't think I'll implement it soon.
> Of course reading many small *.list files is very slow. New format
> is only possibility to speed it. File size becomes large (=slow), so
> some kind of compressed/binary format is needed. (I failed to find
> Jason Gunthorpe's proposal for new format.)
Strangely so did I. I wonder where it went. Since I don't expire my
sent-mail I've pulled it out and put it at
Think of it as some thoughts on the subject and why we should not use a
generic dbm. You should read and understand the apt cache document before
reading this - it is the same idea.
With a mmap'd data structure like I explore, multiple dpkg startup time
would be very close to instant on a wide class of machines.
> Also 'Depends' lines in available could cause a problem. When
> removing a package, it is necessary to scan all installed packages to
> find dependencies (at least i believe so:). This is rather slow.
> Simplifying 'Depends' line format would help ('|' is unnecessary
> because 'Provides' could be used instead.)
This is very fast with APT's format, it actually does alot of such
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