Bug 489368 - Duplicate dirnames in rpm headers and unsorted dirnames in general.
Duplicate dirnames in rpm headers and unsorted dirnames in general.
Product: Fedora
Classification: Fedora
Component: rpm (Show other bugs)
All Linux
low Severity medium
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Assigned To: Florian Festi
Fedora Extras Quality Assurance
Depends On:
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Reported: 2009-03-09 14:10 EDT by Phil Knirsch
Modified: 2015-03-04 20:20 EST (History)
6 users (show)

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Doc Type: Bug Fix
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Last Closed: 2010-06-28 07:25:51 EDT
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Description Phil Knirsch 2009-03-09 14:10:05 EDT
Description of problem:

This bug has been around since the beginning of time. Actually not really, but since very early versions of rpm where the split of dirnames and basenames was introduced.

The way rpm generates dirnames for a build is simply put like this (in pseudocode):

Generate filelist with dirs
Sort filelist
for each file in filelist:
  Split dname and bname from file
  Search dirindex for dname in dirnames using glibc bsearch
  if found, use dirindex for that bname
  otherwise append dname to dirnames and use new dirindex for that bname
  append bname to basenames

Now on first glance this sounds correct. But if you look closely at how the filelist is generated you'll suddenly see that dirnames afterwards isn't actually a sorted list. Here a real life example of glibc-common.i386 from Fedora-9 release (glibc-common-2.8-3.i386.rpm)

Output of rpm -qpl glibc-common-2.8-3.i386.rpm:


Side by side comparison of dirnames and LANG=C sorted dirnames:

/etc/ /etc/
/etc/default/ /etc/default/
/usr/bin/ /usr/bin/
/usr/lib/ /usr/lib/
/usr/lib/locale/ /usr/lib/locale/
/usr/libexec/ /usr/libexec/
/usr/sbin/ /usr/sbin/
/usr/share/doc/ /usr/share/
/usr/share/doc/glibc-common-2.8/ /usr/share/
/usr/share/ /usr/share/doc/
/usr/share/i18n/ /usr/share/doc/glibc-common-2.8/
/usr/share/i18n/charmaps/ /usr/share/i18n/
/usr/share/i18n/locales/ /usr/share/i18n/charmaps/
/usr/share/ /usr/share/i18n/locales/
/usr/share/locale/ /usr/share/locale/

As you can see, /usr/share/ is listed twice in the dirnames list. This comes from the simple fact that after the splitting of dirnames and basenames for the files the resulting dirnames aren't sorted anymore:

/usr/share/doc/glibc-common-2.8 -> /usr/share/doc/ : glibc-common-2.8
/usr/share/i18n -> /usr/share/ : i18n
/usr/share/i18n/charmaps -> /usr/share/i18n/ : charmaps
/usr/share/i18n/charmaps/ANSI_X3.110-1983.gz -> /usr/share/i18n/charmaps/ : ANSI_X3.110-1983.gz
/usr/share/i18n/locales -> /usr/share/i18n/ : locales
/usr/share/i18n/locales/POSIX -> /usr/share/i18n/locales/ : POSIX
/usr/share/locale -> /usr/share/ : locale
/usr/share/locale/be -> /usr/share/locale/ : be

And as that list isn't sorted anymore it comes as no surprise that bsearch() will eventually not find an already existing dirname in dirnames, e.g. /usr/share/ in this example.

This has several obvious problems:

 - Duplicate dirname entries in dirnames, wasting space
 - If the bsearch() implementation of glibc should ever change you will get different dirnames headers for idential filelists
 - Any tool working with rpm headers and dirnames that assumes that dirnames is sorted and/or unique will fail miserably

Version-Release number of selected component (if applicable):

rpm since the change from "filenames" tag to "dirnames" and "basenames".

How reproducible:

Happens with lots of rpms with larger filelists.

A correct implementation would probably have to do use 2 pass algorithm to first collect a list of all possible dirnames and then uniquely sort it and in the 2nd pass extract the basenames and use the now correctly working bsearch() for any implementation to find the corresponding dirname from dirnames.

Thanks & regards, Phil
Comment 1 R P Herrold 2009-03-09 22:17:30 EDT

Why not just one pass, hashing each dir, and inserting into a b-tree, spotting [and avoiding] collisions (and thus dupes)?

-- Russ herrold
Comment 2 Phil Knirsch 2009-03-10 07:27:12 EDT
Hm, how would you manage the dirindexes for the basenames then? I suppose instead of using direct integers you could make it a pointer to a dirindex entry in a struct of the dirname and dirindex with which you populate the b-tree.


struct dnames {
    int dirindex;
    char *dirname;
    struct dnames *left;
    struct dnames *right;

and have dirindexes:

int *dirindexes;
dirindexes = malloc(sizeof(int *) * len_of_filelist);

This way you can at least build the b-tree and the basenames list and the dirindexes pointer list in 1 pass and just need a quick 2nd pass to generate the final dirnames list together with the correct dirindexes in the b-tree and then save the values of the pointers in dirindexes. And as the dirnames should be a lot smaller than the filelist the time overhead should be minimal.
Comment 3 Jeff Johnson 2009-03-10 20:49:01 EDT
Let's try a reality check, shall we?

The savings in removing duplicates in RPMTAG_DIRNAMES is infintessimal. Do the math ...
E.g. the savings is (at least) an order of magnitude smaller than the added overhead
of attaching file capabilities to *every* file so that perhaps 100+ files can be installed
with capabilities.

The data in RPMTAG_DIRNAMES has *never* been guaranteed to be sorted. Examples
of unsorted RPMTAG_DIRNAMES are everywhere.

Pursuing a sort order for RPMTAG_DIRNAMES hardly changes anything. Unsorted
RPMTAG_DIRNAMES will remain in *.rpm packages forevermore. So rpm wil
continue to have to sort RPMTAG_DIRNAMES if bsearch is desired. Luckily, there's
no access on any critical path in rpm that would benefit from pre-sorted

There is no benefit -- to rpm, to developers, to Red Hat, to LSB, etc -- from
sorting RPMTAG_DIRNAMES. Nor are there any forseeable benefits from
a Newer! Better! Bestest! implementation that I can conceive of even after smoking
a lot of crack ...

Using a B-tree, or a data structure, to achieve a 1-pass generation of simultaneously
is just bleeping overkill. At least do the sort by embedding OCAML or using an Oracle
database optimized for parallel retrieval or something manly please ...
Comment 4 Bug Zapper 2009-06-09 08:02:59 EDT
This bug appears to have been reported against 'rawhide' during the Fedora 11 development cycle.
Changing version to '11'.

More information and reason for this action is here:
Comment 5 Bug Zapper 2010-04-27 09:08:35 EDT
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Comment 6 Bug Zapper 2010-06-28 07:25:51 EDT
Fedora 11 changed to end-of-life (EOL) status on 2010-06-25. Fedora 11 is 
no longer maintained, which means that it will not receive any further 
security or bug fix updates. As a result we are closing this bug.

If you can reproduce this bug against a currently maintained version of 
Fedora please feel free to reopen this bug against that version.

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