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Re: [Bug-cpio] cpio suggestion: --quick-exit

From: Carl Sopchak
Subject: Re: [Bug-cpio] cpio suggestion: --quick-exit
Date: Sun, 23 Aug 2009 14:41:19 -0400
User-agent: KMail/1.9.10


Thanks for the feedback.  

I don't think --occurrence is equivalent to what I'm trying to achieve, as it 
sounds like cpio would still have to read the entire archive (which is what 
I'm trying to avoid) if a wildcard is specified.

It sounds like my --quick-exit is of the same vein as --fast-read.  However, 
the description provided sounds to me (I'm no expert by any means) like if I 
requested a restore of "home/carl/*" using --fast-read then I'd only get the 
first file matched (not the entire subtree) which is not what I'm looking 
for.  If this is an incorrect interpretation, then I think the two are the 
same, and using --fast-read instead of --quick-exit in cpio is fine with me.  
(Although, IMHO, --quick-exit more aptly describes its function...)

I am also not familiar with all of the flavors of tar, so I do not know how 
directories are visited in each.  But then again, cpio doesn't even do tree 
traversal (you have to feed it file names to back up).  This option could be 
available for archives that have been purposefully structured to take 
advantage of it, like my full and daily backups.

I'm somewhat baffled by the "rife for confusion" remark.  I think it could be 
explained quite suscinctly:  "If a wildcard is used to specify the files to 
be restored and --quick-exit [for --fast-read] is specified, the archive will 
be read until the first file matches.  Subsequent files will be restored 
until the path up to the wildcard specification changes in the archive, at 
which point cpio will exit unless there are other paths specified on the 
command line that have not been restored.  For example..."

Is there a design philosophy for cpio that it remain as close to tar in 
command line options and mode of operation as possible?  I realize the 
benefit of this consistency, but they are different programs, after all...

Anyway, it sounds like this is a do-able change.  Any other comments, 
suggestions, or pointers as to how I might proceed?



On Saturday, August 22, 2009, Tim Kientzle wrote:
> Carl Sopchak wrote:
> > Hi,
> >
> > This is a suggestion for a new option to cpio, --quick-exit.  The purpose
> > of the option is to exit cpio as soon as the requested file(s) have been
> > restored, instead of reading all the way through the archive.
> Perhaps it would be better to implement the GNU tar --occurrence
> option:
>      --occurrence[=NUMBER]
>         process only the NUMBERth occurrence of each file
>         in the archive; this option is valid only in
>         conjunction with one of the subcommands --delete,
>         --diff, --extract or --list and when a list of
>         files is given either on the command line or via
>         the -T option; NUMBER defaults to 1
> or the older --fast-read aka -q supported by FreeBSD's
> tar (which used to be a patched GNU tar, since replaced
> by bsdtar):
>     -q (--fast-read)
>         (x and t mode only) Extract or list only the first archive entry
>         that matches each pattern or filename operand.  Exit as soon as
>         each specified pattern or filename has been matched.  By default,
>         the archive is always read to the very end, since there can be
>         multiple entries with the same name and, by convention, later
>         entries overwrite earlier entries.  This option is provided as a
>         performance optimization.
> Your notion of allowing this to work for specifying a directory
> (exiting as soon as something outside of the directory is seen)
> sounds rife for confusion, though.  Besides append operation,
> it's a little dangerous to make strong assumptions about the
> order in which items are written into archives.  (Witness the
> very different orders that GNU tar, star, and bsdtar use
> for visiting directories.)
> Tim

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