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Software Heritage fifth anniversary event

From: Ludovic Courtès
Subject: Software Heritage fifth anniversary event
Date: Wed, 01 Dec 2021 10:41:00 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/27.2 (gnu/linux)

Hello Guix!

I had the pleasure to attend the Software Heritage fifth anniversary
event yesterday at the UNESCO headquarters (fancy!) and at Inria in

I learned about things others are doing with SWH (notably in the
cultural and scientific fields) and had discussions with hackers (people
who work on Subversion, CVS, Mercurial, and Bazaar “loaders”, for
instance).  I gave a 10–15mn talk on how Guix uses SWH, what Disarchive
is, what the current status of the “preservation of Guix” is, and what
remains to be done:

(There was a great talk about Maneage¹ right before mine.)

I chatted with the SWH tech team; they’re obviously very busy solving
all sorts of scalability challenges :-) but they’re also truly
interested in what we’re doing and in supporting our use case.  Off the
top of my head, here are some of the topics discussed:

  • ingesting past revisions: if we can give them ‘sources.json’ for
    past revisions, they’re happy to ingest them;

  • rate limit: we can find an arrangement to raise it for the purposes
    of statistics gathering like Simon and Timothy have been doing (we
    can discuss the details off-list);

  • Disarchive: they’d like to better understand the “unknowns” in the
    PoG plots (I wasn’t sure if it was non-tar.gz tarballs or what) and
    to work on the definitely-missing origins that show up there;
    they’re not opposed to the idea of eventually hosting or maintaining
    the Disarchive database (in fact one of the developers thought we
    were hosting it in Git and that as such they were already archiving
    it—maybe we could go back to Git?);

  • bit-for-bit archival: there’s a tension between making SWH a
    “canonical” representation of VCS repos and making it a faithful,
    bit-for-bit identical copy of the original, and there are different
    opinions in the team here; our use case pretty much requires
    bit-for-bit copies, and fortunately this is what SWH is giving us in
    practice for Git repos, so checkout authentication (for example)
    should work even when fetching Guix from SWH.

There were other discussions about Guix and Nix and I was pleased to see
people were enthusiastic about functional package management and about
our whole endeavor.

Anyway I think we can take this as an opportunity to increase bandwidth
with the SWH developers!



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