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From: Elijah Newren <newren@gmail.com>
To: Jonathan Nieder <jrnieder@gmail.com>
Cc: Elijah Newren via GitGitGadget <gitgitgadget@gmail.com>,
	Git Mailing List <git@vger.kernel.org>,
	Victoria Dye <vdye@github.com>, Derrick Stolee <stolee@gmail.com>,
	Lessley Dennington <lessleydennington@gmail.com>,
	Jonathan Tan <jonathantanmy@google.com>,
	Jose Lopes <jabolopes@google.com>,
	Jeff Hostetler <jeffhostetler@github.com>
Subject: Re: [PATCH v2 3/5] repo_read_index: clear SKIP_WORKTREE bit from files present in worktree
Date: Sat, 19 Feb 2022 08:42:56 -0800	[thread overview]
Message-ID: <CABPp-BHU4VYXF8kNvZEwBLu2BYP2Q1c9dYMW_8QfNmvGjB1ZOA@mail.gmail.com> (raw)
In-Reply-To: <YhBCsg2DCEd9FXjE@google.com>

On Fri, Feb 18, 2022 at 5:07 PM Jonathan Nieder <jrnieder@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> (cc-ing Jonathan Tan, Jose Lopes, and Jeff Hostetler, vfs experts)
> Hi Elijah,
>
> Elijah Newren wrote[1]:
>
> > The fix is short (~30 lines), but the description is not.  Sorry.
> >
> > There is a set of problems caused by files in what I'll refer to as the
> > "present-despite-SKIP_WORKTREE" state.  This commit aims to not just fix
> > these problems, but remove the entire class as a possibility -- for
> > those using sparse checkouts.  But first, we need to understand the
> > problems this class presents.  A quick outline:
> >
> >    * Problems
> >      * User facing issues
> >      * Problem space complexity
> >      * Maintenance and code correctness challenges
> >    * SKIP_WORKTREE expectations in Git
> >    * Suggested solution
> >    * Pros/Cons of suggested solution
> >    * Notes on testcase modifications
>
> Thanks for a clear explanation!  This is very helpful.
>
> > === User facing issues ===
> >
> > There are various ways for users to get files to be present in the
> > working copy despite having the SKIP_WORKTREE bit set for that file in
> > the index.  This may come from:
> >   * various git commands not really supporting the SKIP_WORKTREE bit[1,2]
> >   * users grabbing files from elsewhere and writing them to the worktree
> >     (perhaps even cached in their editor)
> >   * users attempting to "abort" a sparse-checkout operation with a
> >     not-so-early Ctrl+C (updating $GIT_DIR/info/sparse-checkout and the
> >     working tree is not atomic)[3].
> >
> > Once users have present-despite-SKIP_WORKTREE files, any modifications
> > users make to these files will be ignored, possibly to users' confusion.
> [...]
> > The suggests a simple solution: present-despite-SKIP_WORKTREE files
> > should not exist, for those using sparse-checkouts.
>
> This patch just reached "next", so at $DAYJOB a test for our vfsd[2]
> noticed this change.  The trick behind a Git-based virtual filesystem
> is typically:
>
> - since we control the filesystem, we can pretend all files are
>   already present.  On access, we obtain the file content from the git
>   object store.  On write, we update the sparse-checkout pattern so
>   that Git knows to start tracking the file.
>
> - by keeping the sparse-checkout pattern narrow, we minimize the time
>   commands like "git status" need to spend looking for changes in
>   unmodified files.  Controlling the filesystem means we don't need to
>   worry about changes to files that don't match that pattern (since
>   any modification would also trigger a sparse-checkout pattern
>   update).

Sorry for the headache.

Let me try to restate the problem I'm solving, then attempt to put
your above situation into my own words, to verify I'm understanding...

So the primary challenge I was trying to address with this patch
series, was that keeping the filesystem and the "sparsity" state
in-sync was just *difficult*.  Things like checkout-index or even
diff+apply will write to the working tree without even thinking about
updating the sparsity state in the index to match.  And that's only
looking at Git-related commands.  People can write new copies of files
manually in a myriad of ways.  Detecting and handling that
inconsistent state between the working tree and index wasn't as easy
as it looked.

One way to solve this problem would be to have a vfs, where any time
someone writes to a file, you update the index to clear the
SKIP_WORKTREE bit for the written file.  Sounds like you have such a
thing. (...or close to it, since you'd update the sparsity patterns,
and the tooling to check mismatches of sparsity patterns and the index
state are good and those get updated nicely.  We just struggle to have
something that correctly updates between index and working tree
mismatches of sparsity state).  So, that basically means you wouldn't
benefit from this change.

But for those of us without some kind of vfs that detects writes and
auto-updates either the sparsity patterns or the SKIP_WORKTREE bit in
the index, we want something that will manually check the working tree
to see if files have been written and update the index accordingly.

And, of course, you're trying to do more than just detect
inconsistencies -- you want the vfs to fully control the sparsity
patterns and expand them based on dynamic file accesses by the user.
That dynamic bit doesn't play well with the non-vfs workaround.


Does that sound right?

> If I understand the intent behind this change correctly, it's
> incompatible with that trick.  How would you recommend handling that?
> In the not too far away future, I'd expect something like the "VFS
> projection hook" to handle this use case, but in the meantime, I would
> expect this change to break VFS for Git performance.  A few options:

Side note: I thought Microsoft's vfs was first named GVFS and then
based on naming collisions renamed to VFS for Git.  Sounds like you
have something that is probably a bit different, but which you are
also calling VFS for Git?  Is there some potential confusion here, or
are you banking on Microsoft eventually dropping their project?  Or
that you'll both keep your projects internal and not share them so the
naming collision doesn't matter?  Just curious...

>  a. We could guard it with a config option.  It would still be a
>     regression for VFS for Git users, but they'd be able to use the
>     config option to restore the expected behavior.  (Or
>     alternatively, such a config option could be disabled by default,
>     but I suspect that would defeat the purpose described for the
>     patch.)
>
>  b. We could distinguish between the vfsd and the "interrupted and
>     forgot to update SKIP_WORKTREE bits in the index" cases somehow.
>     This sounds complex.
>
>  c. Something else?
>
> (b) and (c) aren't sounding obviously good, so (a) seems tempting.
> What do you think?

Yeah, I'm having a hard time coming up with a way that either the VFS
could recognize these special Git present-despite-skip-worktree checks
and treat them differently, or having Git recognize that it is running
under a special VFS that likes to aggressively and automagically
expand the sparsity patterns.  So (a) seems tempting to me too.

Got any name suggestions?  core.avoidPresentDespiteSkipWorktreeCheck
(defaulting to false)?  core.sparsityConsistencyCheck (defaulting to
true)?

Did your team want to implement that on top of
en/present-despite-skipped since you can verify if it works for you,
or did you want me to take a stab at it?  Should be a pretty simple
change.

> Thanks,
> Jonathan
>
> [1] https://lore.kernel.org/git/11d46a399d26c913787b704d2b7169cafc28d639.1642175983.git.gitgitgadget@gmail.com/
> [2] see
> https://lore.kernel.org/git/20220207190320.2960362-1-jonathantanmy@google.com/
> for what I mean by "vfsd"

  reply	other threads:[~2022-02-19 16:44 UTC|newest]

Thread overview: 30+ messages / expand[flat|nested]  mbox.gz  Atom feed  top
2022-01-13 16:43 [PATCH 0/5] Remove the present-despite-SKIP_WORKTREE class of bugs (for sparse-checkouts) Elijah Newren via GitGitGadget
2022-01-13 16:43 ` [PATCH 1/5] t1011: add testcase demonstrating accidental loss of user modifications Elijah Newren via GitGitGadget
2022-01-13 16:43 ` [PATCH 2/5] unpack-trees: fix accidental loss of user changes Elijah Newren via GitGitGadget
2022-01-13 16:43 ` [PATCH 3/5] repo_read_index: clear SKIP_WORKTREE bit from files present in worktree Elijah Newren via GitGitGadget
2022-01-13 16:43 ` [PATCH 4/5] Update documentation related to sparsity and the skip-worktree bit Elijah Newren via GitGitGadget
2022-01-13 16:43 ` [PATCH 5/5] Accelerate clear_skip_worktree_from_present_files() by caching Elijah Newren via GitGitGadget
2022-01-13 23:35   ` Elijah Newren
2022-01-14 15:59 ` [PATCH v2 0/5] Remove the present-despite-SKIP_WORKTREE class of bugs (for sparse-checkouts) Elijah Newren via GitGitGadget
2022-01-14 15:59   ` [PATCH v2 1/5] t1011: add testcase demonstrating accidental loss of user modifications Elijah Newren via GitGitGadget
2022-02-16  8:51     ` Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason
2022-02-16 16:02       ` Elijah Newren
2022-01-14 15:59   ` [PATCH v2 2/5] unpack-trees: fix accidental loss of user changes Elijah Newren via GitGitGadget
2022-01-14 15:59   ` [PATCH v2 3/5] repo_read_index: clear SKIP_WORKTREE bit from files present in worktree Elijah Newren via GitGitGadget
2022-02-16  8:57     ` Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason
2022-02-16 16:08       ` Elijah Newren
2022-02-19  1:06     ` Jonathan Nieder
2022-02-19 16:42       ` Elijah Newren [this message]
2022-02-19 18:14         ` Jonathan Nieder
2022-02-20  5:28           ` Elijah Newren
2022-02-20 16:56       ` Derrick Stolee
2022-02-22 23:17         ` Jonathan Nieder
2022-01-14 15:59   ` [PATCH v2 4/5] Update documentation related to sparsity and the skip-worktree bit Elijah Newren via GitGitGadget
2022-02-16  9:15     ` Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason
2022-02-16 16:21       ` Elijah Newren
2022-01-14 15:59   ` [PATCH v2 5/5] Accelerate clear_skip_worktree_from_present_files() by caching Elijah Newren via GitGitGadget
2022-01-15  1:39     ` Victoria Dye
2022-02-16  9:32     ` Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason
2022-02-16 16:30       ` Elijah Newren
2022-02-17  4:40         ` Elijah Newren
2022-01-15  1:51   ` [PATCH v2 0/5] Remove the present-despite-SKIP_WORKTREE class of bugs (for sparse-checkouts) Victoria Dye

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