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[bug#34223] Fixing timestamps in archives.

From: Tim Gesthuizen
Subject: [bug#34223] Fixing timestamps in archives.
Date: Mon, 18 Feb 2019 21:07:03 +0100
User-agent: mu4e 1.0; emacs 26.1

Hi Ludo,

> Sorry for the delay!

No problem! I have very little time anyway.

> Nice work!  It’s great that libarchive doesn’t need to actually extract
> the zip file to operate on it.
> Overall I think the approach of factorizing archive-timestamp-resetting
> in one place and using it everywhere (‘ant-build-system’ and all) is the
> right thing to do.
> However, I’m not sure whether we should introduce a new program for this
> purpose.  I believe ‘strip-nondeterminism’¹ (in Perl) by fellow
> Reproducible Builds hackers also addresses this problem, so it may be
> wiser to use it.

I also think so. If there is already another program that does the job
we should probably use it.

> But really, since (guix build utils) already implements a significant
> subset of ‘strip-nondeterminism’, it would be even better if could avoid
> to shell out to a C or Perl program.
> I played a bit with this idea and, as an example, the attached file
> allows you to traverse the list of entries in a zip file (it uses
> ‘guile-bytestructures’).  Specifically, you can get the list of file
> names in a zip file by running:
>   (call-with-input-file ""
>     (lambda (port)
>       (fold-entries cons '() port)))
> Resetting timestamps should be just as simple.
> How about taking this route?

I also thought about taking this route.
There are some problems with it though:

- As Julien pointed out, the archive contents need to be uncompressed.
  This makes the problem much more complex and keeps us from writing
  a partial ZIP parser that replaces the timestamps in place.
- While it would be quite elegant to just implement the parser in
  Scheme it would be redundant. After all we are developing a package
  manager so we should use it.
  This approach would be more attractive if there would be a Guile
  library for this.
  The best solution would be creating a proper library for handling
  archives when going with Scheme.
- Maintaining a ZIP parser in Guix is a burden we should not take.
- We need to care about a lot of details (ZIP64, probably more exotic

I would be fine with writing an own parser in Scheme but I would like to
point out that in every other place in Guix we are using external tools
for handling archives (AFAIK).

I am not quite sure which version would be the best, so I am open for
other opinions on this.
Maybe you could rephrase your position taking the compression problem
into consideration.


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