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[bug#56677] [PATCH 0/2] environment: Add --emulate-fhs option.

From: John Kehayias
Subject: [bug#56677] [PATCH 0/2] environment: Add --emulate-fhs option.
Date: Wed, 17 Aug 2022 21:43:08 +0000


Took me a while to respond as well, summer meaning more time to hack on things 
and then also let them get away...

------- Original Message -------
On Thursday, August 4th, 2022 at 6:36 AM, Ludovic Courtès <> wrote:
> Hello,
> John Kehayias skribis:
> > As discussed on guix-devel here (please see for more detailed discussion 
> > and design aims): 
> > this is a patch to add an FHS (Filesystem Hierarchy Standard) emulation 
> > option for environments.
> Wo0t!
> > 1. On the mailing list there was discussion about the necessity or not of 
> > glibc-for-fhs (added in the first patch). I find this useful and a big 
> > piece of making this FHS option work, but open to discussion or if it 
> > should be a further option.
> I would prefer to keep complexity as low as possible, and thus not have
> this glibc variant.
> Now, I don’t know for this use case how much it matters that libc honors
> /etc/ Intuitively, like I wrote on guix-devel, I’d think
> doesn’t matter, but you encountered counterexamples.
> So I guess that if in practice presence of /etc/ and having
> glibc honor it is necessary often enough, we can do that.

Right, though as I said, happy to hear of alternatives or what other use cases 
come up. This seems rather robust to any "usual" assumptions though.

> It seems that ‘glibc-for-fhs’ is merely added to the environment though,
> and not actually used?

Well, it is added to the environment which here means the glibc-for-fhs lib 
directory ends up in the container's global /lib. This may be useful for 
anything expecting a more "typical" glibc to be found in the typical location. 
I can't say I know the particulars here, other than binaries and an example of 
other nested containers (used in non-free software, but the containers are 
bwrap and friends) expecting glibc to default to a global ld cache. Again, 
there may be other workarounds or ways to reduce this, but for now I followed 
the "emulate" part of the flag :)

> + ;; For an FHS-container, add the
> + ;; (hidden) package glibc-for-fhs which
> + ;; uses the global cache at
> + ;; /etc/
> + (if emulate-fhs?
> + (alist-cons 'expression
> + '(ad-hoc-package
> + "(@@ (gnu packages base) glibc-for-fhs)")
> + opts)
> + opts)))
> Or rather it’s only used when running ‘ldconfig’, right?

Yes, since that is the glibc in the container. Though actually generating a 
cache shouldn't matter, right? Guix's glibc will do that as well, as the only 
patch removed is the one that changed where glibc reads the ld cache from. So 
the cache could be generated with Guix's glibc, but then likely won't be read 
otherwise? Sorry, a bit out of what I know for all the details; I'm mostly at 
"this is what is often expected" and "this makes it work."

> > 2. Right now I used a script written to the containers /tmp/ to 
> > generate the ld cache, supplement $PATH (somewhat optional, but I found 
> > useful for less tinkering), and finally launch the given command or shell. 
> > I found that when not providing a command the prompt for /bin/sh is not the 
> > same as when not using --emulate-fhs. So I'm not sure if this is the 
> > correct way to launch the default /bin/sh if no command is given. Open to 
> > ideas of a better way to implement these actions for a container start up 
> > as well.
> > 
> > 3. This is my first time touching a guix script and the documentation, so 
> > please do check the commit message and guix.texi.
> > 
> > 4. I decided to link the second level FHS directories, like /usr/bin, as 
> > well as optional ones like /lib64 (or /lib32), to the top level /bin, /lib, 
> > and so on. These could just be bind mounted to profile/bin and so on as 
> > well, but again tried to mimic an FHS distribution like Arch where the 
> > files only live in one place. While perhaps making the code a little more 
> > involved, I hope this makes the container look tidier.
> > 
> > I may be forgetting other elements in the implementation decisions I made, 
> > but I have been testing these patches along the way and have gotten good 
> > usage of them. Please test further too!
> At first sight, I find it pretty cool! I would have two grievances:

Thanks! It is serving me in some day-to-day work nicely.

> 1. Can we make the implementation more orthogonal and less entangled
> in the already-long ‘launch-environment/container’?
> Maybe that can be accomplished by moving all the code conditional
> on ‘emulate-fhs?’ out of the way in a separate procedure, and
> possibly by adding a generic hook in ‘launch-environment/container’
> that would call said procedure.

Sure, this sounds like a good idea. I can certainly separate out the FHS setup 
to a separate function and call it. But I'm not sure what you mean by a 
"generic hook" here. Do you mean that launch-environment/container would have 
as an argument say a list of functions it would call?

> 2. Please add tests. You can probably augment
> ‘tests/’ for that. Let us know if
> you’re not sure how to do that.

Thanks, definitely forgot about that. In looking at that, I've just ran it with 
"./pre-inst-env sh tests/" and see that the exit 
code is 0. Is that the correct way to run these?

Secondly, I'm trying to think of what tests to add. I could of course run the 
same tests already, but with the --emulate-fhs option, to check that there are 
no regressions. Other than that, maybe checking that e.g. there's 
/etc/, /lib, and so on?

> Thanks for all the work, and sorry for the delay: it seems to be summer
> time for many of us. :-)
> Ludo’.

No worries, summer is a good time to get away, or dig in :)


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