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Re: Inverted index to accelerate guix package search

From: zimoun
Subject: Re: Inverted index to accelerate guix package search
Date: Mon, 20 Jan 2020 20:14:11 +0100

Hi Arun,

On Fri, 17 Jan 2020 at 20:29, Arun Isaac <address@hidden> wrote:

> > 1.
> > How to update the index.
> > Give a look at the "pull" code and the ~/.cache/guix folder.
> We don't "update" the index. At every guix pull we create it
> anew. Currently, generate-package-cache in gnu/packages.scm does
> this. generate-package-cache is called by package-cache-file in
> guix/channels.scm. package-cache-file is a channel profile hook listed
> under %channel-profile-hooks.

I would like to be able to search the packages in all the history of
all the commits, and not only in only the packages for one specific

> Now, what I am unclear about is how to test my sqlite index building
> code without actually pushing to master and running a guix pull. I will
> go through the various tests in Guix and see if I can figure something
> out, but any pointers would be much appreciated.

To test "guix pull", simple "make as-derivation". Disclaim: can take
some time :-)

Then the issue is more to avoid to pollute your ~/.cache/guix and
~/.config/guix :-)

1. Update Guix with the result in /tmp/test

guix pull -p /tmp/test --url=/path/to/guix/repo

2. Create your SQL index

/tmp/test/bin/guix pull -p /tmp/trash

Now your index should be created with all the packages currently in master.
To have something reproducible (and faster), I suggest to add
--commit= and always pull against the same commit.

3. Test the index

/tmp/test/bin/guix search foo

I mean something along these lines. ;-)

> > 2.
> > How to deal with regexp.
> > It is more or less clear to me how to deal with using the trigram keys
> > but I do not know with SQLite; I have not thought about yet.
> I think it is not possible to search using regular expressions in sqlite

I think it is possible. I imagine something using multiple query.
I will give a look at the Guile module.

> I think we should remove regex support altogether. I don't think a good
> search interface should expect the user to provide regexes for
> search. Certainly, it will be a lot less useful if and when we have
> xapian. However, just to keep backward compatibility, we can fall back
> to brute force fold-packages search for regexes. As Ludo pointed out, we
> can't remove the brute force code since we need to support cases when
> the cache is not authoritative.

I disagree. We should keep the regexp. Otherwise we cannot include
under "guix search" or "guix package --search=" because arguments
about backward compatibility.

The end user interface (CLI) has to be exactly the same when using
brute force or the index. And the results too.

> About sqlite versus an inverted index using vhashes, I don't know if it
> is possible to serialize a vhash onto disk. Even if that were possible,
> we'll have to load the entire vhash based inverted index into memory for
> every invocation of guix search, and that could hit
> performance. Something like guile-gdbm could have helped, but that's
> another story.

And your first test was not fair. ;-)
Because you compared when the hash table was already in memory.
I mean to know the real performance, only timing can talk. :-)

> I didn't know about sets.scm when I wrote my first proof of concept
> inverted index script. That is why I reinvented the set using hash
> tables. I don't know how hash tables are different from VHashes or which
> is better.

VHashes is a bit confused in my mind too. ;-)


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