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bug#41878: 'guix substitute' and 'guix pull' fail gracelessly on flaky n

From: Brendan Tildesley
Subject: bug#41878: 'guix substitute' and 'guix pull' fail gracelessly on flaky networks
Date: Sun, 30 Aug 2020 20:06:58 +1000

I have not looked closely but from observation I think currently guix first decides if it is going to commit to using a substitute, or falling back to building locally, by checking if substitutes are available then committing to a method. This differs from the concept of a fallback in my head, which would involve trying option B only after option A has been tried and failed. guix's way means there are a class of failures where guix simply gives up and stops instead of falling back.

In my experience, probably 10% of the time I try a guix pull; guix package -u ., there is some weird network error that doesn't happen the second time I run it. Perhaps it would be sufficient to simply try twice for every substitute; accumulate a list of failed substitutes and retry them after iterating through the list of substitutes to download, then if that fails try building from source. only then are we allowed to give up.

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