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Status of updatedb

From: James Youngman
Subject: Status of updatedb
Date: Wed, 30 Nov 2005 06:53:33 +0000
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.9i

The updatedb script seems to be pretty complex and messy.  In addition
there are some problems with it.  For example, if find returns a
nonzero result it carries on regardless, I think.  

Finding a way to make updatedb simpler and more robust sounds to me
like a good idea.  Perhaps part of the problem is that Bourne shell is
the wrong language to write it in.  

I would welcome suggestions and dicussions on the future of updatedb.
There are several things that we could do with it:

1. Make updatedb and locate work better over NFS, for example by
   having a locate database at every NFS mount point.  This is possible
   now but is hard to set up and administer.

2. Replace updatedb with a different (but compatible) program.  I have
   no fixed ideas about what language this should be written in, but
   there is a problem with dependencies - findutils is often part of
   the base system, and so making it depend on Perl, Python or Scheme
   would be problematic for both system administrators and distribution
   vendors, I think.  I'd be reluctant to have that happen.  This may mean
   that in practice we're restricted to shell or C.

3. Enhance find to allow it to output data for the locate database
   directly.  This could simplify updatedb at the expense of greater
   complexity in find (though implementing FreeBSD's -s option would be 
   a start).

Anyway, what do you guys think?


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