[arch-dev-public] Problem with web dashboard: massive orphaning of packages

Paul Mattal paul at mattal.com
Fri Sep 12 17:08:55 EDT 2008

Dusty Phillips wrote:
> 2008/9/12 Eric Belanger <belanger at astro.umontreal.ca>:
>> Hi,
>> I don't know if you remember but a while ago a huge part of extra i686 (IIRC
>> it was all packages from L to Z) were orphaned and erroneouly showing up as
>> recently updated on the web site.  This just happened again with packages in
>> extra x86_64. I don't know what could caused that but it's very annoying as
>> we has to readopt all our packages back.
> Fuck.
> I remember Judd telling me not to swear at users but its ok to swear
> at scripts right?
> This has to be happening in reporead.py.  Fucking reporead.py. To the
> best of my knowledge, no other script updates the web database in
> anyway, am I wrong?
> The actual db_update script splits the packages into those that are in
> the database and those that are not and processes them separately.
> Packages that are not currently in the database get added as orphans
> because apparently its hard to interrogate the maintainer from the
> db.tar.gz. At first, I assumed that it is doing an add when it should
> be doing an update, which would add new packages with orphan
> maintainer. But this doesn't appear to be the case because there are
> not currently any duplicate x86_64 packages (that aren't in testing).
> My second more likely hypothesis is race conditions. I don't know how
> the db scripts update exactly, but I suspect reporead is reading a
> db.tar.gz file that is either broken or not yet fully uploaded. It
> sees this broken db file and drops all the packages in the web
> interface that are not in that file. Then x minutes later (crontab),
> it runs again on a proper db and sees the missing packages again. It
> adds them to the database and sets the maintainer to orphan.
> Are such broken dbs possible/likely/happening? If its a race
> condition, we need to put a lock on the database (maybe dbtools does
> this already) so that reporead isn't accessing it at the same time as
> dbtools. If its just that when the database gets updated it sometimes
> breaks the database well.. that just needs to be fixed.

Hey, Dusty-- feeling your pain. Don't worry, there's no permanent harm done.

One thing I considered doing with the AUR scripts and might work here is 
just setting a threshhold.. if more than X packages seem to be orphaned 
since the last run, assume there's an error somewhere, and yell loudly 
to several people with root access on the machine.

Even if you set that number really high, this should work-- it's usually 
when the whole db is messed up that these sort of bad things happen. It 
could check if more than 50% of the packages are being orphaned. A 
simple flag to override the check, in the rare case when we really mean 
  it, would require a simple manual step.

Just a thought.

- P

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