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Re: [Qemu-devel] [RFC v5 1/2] util: add memmem replacement function

From: Eric Blake
Subject: Re: [Qemu-devel] [RFC v5 1/2] util: add memmem replacement function
Date: Fri, 15 May 2015 08:56:14 -0600
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:31.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/31.6.0

On 05/15/2015 08:12 AM, Paolo Bonzini wrote:
> On 15/05/2015 15:57, Claudio Fontana wrote:
>> The header here mentions GPLv2+, but the module data for memmem in gnulib 
>> mentions LGPLv2+.
>> Very confusing.
>> The COPYING file in gnulib mentions:
>> "The files in here are mostly copyright (C) Free Software Foundation, and
>> are under assorted licenses.  Mostly, but not entirely, GPL.
>> Many modules are provided dual-license, either GPL or LGPL at your
>> option.  The headers of files in the lib directory (e.g., lib/error.c)
>> state GPL for convenience, since the bulk of current gnulib users are
>> GPL'd programs.  But the files in the modules directory (e.g.,
>> modules/error) state the true license of each file, [...]
>> "
>> So if one would want to include the gnulib code without using the gnulib 
>> esoteric modules mechanisms, what should one do?
> Change it manually, I guess.

It's still possible to use gnulib-tool for a one-time export of the
modules in question into a temporary project with correct licensing
headers written by gnulib-tool, then copy from that temporary project
into qemu.  It's probably just as fast to do it by hand, but using
gnulib-tool in the procedure (and documenting in the commit message what
that procedure was, to make it easier for the next guy to copy) is
probably friendlier.  I'm not sure off-hand what the command line would
be, but could help if that's the approach we want to take.

Or, since gnulib's memmem is (mostly) sync'd with glibc's memmem (or at
least was in sync at one point), and glibc is under LGPLv2+, why not
copy straight from glibc instead of from gnulib, and then you don't have
to modify any headers?  (I haven't looked lately, but glibc may have
optimizations that should be backported into gnulib)

Historical note: gnulib had this particular implementation of memmem
first, as written by me under a dual license; then I got glibc to
incorporate it under just LGPLv2+; then since the initial
implementation, glibc has been better optimized by others. If you really
want to, you could observe that since I released the same original
memmem implementation under multiple licenses at the time I first wrote
it, you could therefore find and copy an older version under an even
looser license in the newlib project (but without glibc's enhancements,
as I can't dual-license someone else's follow-up work):

Or back to the original question - why are we worrying about the O(n)
memmem implementation when the naive O(n^2) is MUCH shorter and easier
to understand, and where the scaling penalty is only apparent on really
long corner case strings?  Is our use of memmem going to hit the corner
cases where scaling matters?

[Personal note: I'm still tickled pink every time I see yet another
project adopt my O(n) code - I didn't come up with the algorithm, but
merely scraped it from public research, and was shocked to note how many
libc still had O(n^2) code at the time.  But it is still gratifying to
see that my implementation is getting such wide adoption]

Eric Blake   eblake redhat com    +1-919-301-3266
Libvirt virtualization library http://libvirt.org

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