[pacman-dev] [PATCH 0/3] makepkg: Alternate implementation of VCS URLs in sources array.

Luke T.Shumaker lukeshu at sbcglobal.net
Mon Aug 27 20:17:22 EDT 2012

At Mon, 27 Aug 2012 10:53:32 -0400,
Dave Reisner wrote:
> On Mon, Aug 27, 2012 at 09:55:57AM -0400, Luke T.Shumaker wrote:
> > At Sat, 25 Aug 2012 14:43:32 -0400,
> > Dave Reisner wrote:
> > > 
> > > On Sat, Aug 25, 2012 at 01:36:41PM -0400, Luke Shumaker wrote:
> > > > A while ago I started working on a derivative of makepkg to support
> > > > having 'git://...' type urls in the sources=() array.  When preparing
> > > > to file this patch, I did a `git rebase`, and noticed that Allan McRae
> > > > began working on a similar feature. Our implementations are in many
> > > > ways similar. Hopefully mine will be useful.
> > > 
> > > An interesting approach. As you've noticed, I think we're fairly
> > > committed to the implementation that Allan has provided. If you have
> > > specific concerns, maybe we can work to fix those.
> > 
> >  * Allan's URL parsing has some issues, see point 2 below. This is an
> >    easy fix.
> Great, let's fix those.
> >  * Composability. It's not really a "problem", but it seems to me that
> >    It's better to create a new general-purpose tool, instead of
> >    shoving a bunch of "special case" behavior into makepkg. Allan's
> >    implementation could even fairly easily be pulled out of makepkg.
> -1 for moving it out of makepkg. Decoupling it means we would need to do
> a lot of sharing so that the tool is sure to understand makepkg's
> absurdly complicated environment. Not extensible, and there's a lot of
> code that would be "duplicated".
> > And really, does it make sense to have these URL schemes hardcoded
> > into makepkg? Why have DLAGENTS at all, if we're going to hard-code
> > schemes into makepkg? Again, I'm not against Allan's imlementation,
> > but I am for moving it out of makepkg.
> Let's see what's already established and available for http downloading:
> - curl
> - wget
> - aria2
> - dog
> - fetch
> - bash tcp sockets
> (im sure there's more)
> Show me a popular reimplementation of the reference
> git/svn/bzr/cvs/darcs/hg client, and then we'll talk about a way to make
> it possible for the user to configure that in place of our "hardcoded
> default".

I can't speak for the others, but there are multiple implementations
of git (though I am only personally familiar with the original).

> The nerd in me wants to point out that there is no backing RFC for any
> of the VCS protocols so it doesn't belong in DLAGENTS, but we've
> violated that puritanism already by adding a DLAGENT for scp.

Regardless, we *are* mapping the VCS tools to URLs. There are plenty
of URL schemes in common use that aren't registered with IANA (per

Another effect of the Allan's current implementation is that adding
another scheme requires modification to makepkg, event if it is just
to pass it to DLAGENTS. I'd argue that even if we have the special
cases, the correct behavior would be to have download_file (DLAGENTS)
as a fallback, instead of only tripping on 'ftp|http|https|rsync|scp'.

Further, a use case I see is a user putting some funky stuff in
DLAGENTS to either use an offline cache, or do some network stuff to
deal with a contrived network setup.

Also, the nerd in me wants to point out that the makepkg source always
refers to it as a 'protocol' (or 'proto') when RFC3986 says that it
should be 'scheme'.

> > > > My implementation makes minimal changes to makepkg itself (only adding
> > > > blob expansion to DLAGENTS, allowing for things like
> > > > "git+*::""). Instead I added a `vcsget` tool which generates a tarball
> > > > from the VCS repo, in a very similar manner to the way Allan's
> > > > implementation does so within makepkg.
> > > 
> > > I'm not thrilled with the shell I saw in that patch -- there's extensive
> > > use of external commands when simple bash features would have sufficed.
> > 
> > I assume you're speaking of my
> >  1. use of cut in get_field
> >  2. use of sed to parse URLs
> >  3. use of sed to parse URL authorities
> >  4. use of readlink to establish the tarball name
> >  5. use of sed to create a basedir name from the tarball name
> >  6. use of '[' with if statements
> Probably a good laundry list to start with. I'm happy to give a proper
> review of vcsget if you'd like, but I'll respond here in general terms.

That would be great!

> > My defense of each:
> > 
> > 1. `cut` in get_field
> > ---------------------
> > 
> > This was simply the simplest solution that was obviously
> > correct. Another solution would have been to manipulate IFS, which has
> > all kinds of funny side effects and fringe behaviors.
> > 
> > That was a weak argument, and as a coder, I would be thrilled to find
> > out if there is a better solution.
> Cut is useless. IFS manipulation with read is the preferred solution
> here. I'm curious what you think are the "fringe behaviors" in altering
> IFS (I suspect you're merely misusing it -- it's a common point of
> confusion). I've yet to come across any that make me want to use cut.
> I'd sooner offload a larger portion of work to awk then use cut for
> several reasons, anyways.

I'll give you that awk might be better--but I was never comfortable
with awk. The problem with IFS that stopped me from using it is that
it always* will collapse multiple whitespace characters, so it is
impossible to have an empty column in the middle if useing a ' '
delimiter. For some reason I was thinking that space was the only safe
(printable ASCII) character to use--I now realize that both '<' and
'>' would work fine.

* perhaps there is a shopt option, but I am unaware of it

> > 2. `sed` to parse URLs
> > ----------------------
> > 
> > I wanted full URL parsing, for a few cases when the translation is
> > less than than straight-forward. For example, including authentication
> > info in svn URLs.
> > 
> > Further, I wanted to make sure that *any* URL parsing done would be
> > robust. Given that the regex used was taken straight from the relevent
> > RFC, I knew I could count on it to work, even in fringe cases. For
> > example a "fragment" *should* be able to contain a '#', but Allan's
> > implementation discards anything before the last '#' in the
> > fragment. This is a problem for (at least) git, as tags and branches
> > may contain the symbol.
> bash has regex matching which supports ERE with backreferences -- this
> could easily be adopted to split the URL all at once, simply saving the
> relevant pieces of BASH_REMATCH after the fact. See the =~ operator in
> bash(1).

I was unaware of that feature. It would save me a lot of effort.

> > 3. `sed` to parse URL authorities
> > ---------------------------------
> > 
> > I believe that a robust (not having the same problems as fragments for
> > URLs) implementation in bash would be non-trivial.
> See above.
> > 4. `readlink` to establish the tarball name
> > -------------------------------------------
> > 
> > I used `readlink -m` to turn the tarball name into an absolute
> > path. This was not an absolute must, but it allowed me to avoid
> > worrying about keeping track of the current directory. It would be
> > fairly easy to remove this by useing pushd/popd instead of cd. If you
> > would like this changed, I can do that.
> This is _not_ portable. We've refrained from using readlink at all in
> our codebase except in the untainted form. The only thing you can
> portably rely on readlink to do is to wrap the readlink syscall. Better
> yet, figure out why a potential symlink isn't good enough and fix that.
> You shouldn't need to know the actual target that a symlink points to,
> since 90% of a tool will dereference it for you.

My use of `readlink` had nothing to do with symlinks; it is simply to
turn a relative path into an absolute path. An 'unintended' use of
readlink, but the UNIX authors would say that so is `cat` to display a
single file is too.

I've seen this in several codebases, and is the most reliable method
of doing this in shell, assuming GNU coreutils.

As I said, I could have avoided this by being more careful with `cd`
and doing a little more directory hopping.

> > 5. `sed` to create a basedir name from the tarball name
> > -------------------------------------------------------
> > 
> > I'll admit, this was me getting a little lazy. A pure bash
> > implementation is:
> > 
> >     base=${tarball##*/}
> >     base=${base%%.tar.*}
> >     base=${base%.tar}
> And with an extglob, you can more precisely cut that down to:
>   base=${tarball##*/}
>   base=${base%.tar?(.*)}
> The unfortunately named foo.tar.bar.tar.gz wouldn't be "broken" in this way.

I was unaware of extglob offering that. Dang these shopt features I
have to turn on!

However, given that input, I would have thought that 'foo' is the
correct output, so that's what I wrote.

> > 6. `[` with if statements
> > -------------------------
> > 
> > Can I call stylistic choice on this one? It is trivial to replace this
> > with bash's '[['.
> Apologies for the incoming rant.
> No, this isn't merely an issue of "style". [[ is far superior to [ in
> several ways. It's a bash keyword, making it far faster than the [
> builtin, it supports pattern matching with globs and regex, and it has
> defined behavior when you pass more than 3 arguments. Quoting semantics
> are far simpler (and safer), too. Consider a contrived example which,
> actually, you see far too often:
>   [ -n $foo ]
> This is always true, regardless of whether or not 'foo' is defined.
> since '[' is a builtin, which means it behaves no different than another
> other standard command. In reality, it's the same as:
>   [ -n  ]
> This is _true_, because you've really only passed a single argument to
> [. In the single argument case, the existance test is performed. Since
> '-n' always has a length, it's true.
> By comparison, the preferred bash construction:
>   [[ -n $foo ]]
> This always does the right thing because the lexer passes over it and
> sees the variable before its expanded. It understands that even though
> foo might not be defined, you've passed an argument and exits with an
> error when the argument is the empty string. The only time you need to
> quote arguments to tests is when dealing with equations:
>   [[ $foo = $bar ]]
> is not the same as
>   [[ $foo = "$bar" ]]
> Generally, you want the latter since the RHS (right hand side) is
> subject to glob expansion. Quoting it ensures that any glob characters
> are not expanded. The LHS is _never_ subject to glob expansion, but
> will require quoting if it contains whitespace.

OK, 'style' was the wrong word. I am in the habbit of using '[' from
having to code for Almquist-family shells, including dash, busybox,
and BDS's sh. I realize the performance advantage of '[[' for Bash.

For every way I used it (and I know this isn't always the case), the
two are identical in result.

As for quoting rules--I always disliked the 'simpler' rules for '[[',
the seem like they were trying to compensate for bad programmers, (in
the first example) I'd have to quote the variable if I were to do a
similar task with any other command.


Well, I have been taught a few features of Bash, and been made to feel
like I noob. Thank you, this is learning!

Happy hacking,
~ Luke Shumaker

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