On Mar 26, 2014, at 1:29 PM, Junio C Hamano <gits...@pobox.com> wrote:

> Andrew Keller <and...@kellerfarm.com> writes:
>> On Mar 25, 2014, at 6:17 PM, Junio C Hamano <gits...@pobox.com> wrote:
>> ...
>>>> I think that the standard practice with the existing toolset is to
>>>> clone with reference and then repack.  That is:
>>>>   $ git clone --reference <borrowee> git://over/there mine
>>>>   $ cd mine
>>>>   $ git repack -a -d
>>>> And then you can try this:
>>>>   $ mv .git/objects/info/alternates .git/objects/info/alternates.disabled
>>>>   $ git fsck
>>>> to make sure that you are no longer borrowing anything from the
>>>> borrowee.  Once you are satisfied, you can remove the saved-away
>>>> alternates.disabled file.
>>> Oh, I forgot to say that I am not opposed if somebody wants to teach
>>> "git clone" a new option to copy its objects from two places,
>>> (hopefully) the majority from near-by reference repository and the
>>> remainder over the network, without permanently relying on the
>>> former via the alternates mechanism.  The implementation of such a
>>> feature could even literally be "clone with reference first and then
>>> repack" at least initially but even in the final version.
> [Administrivia: please wrap your lines to a reasonable length]
>> That was actually one of my first ideas - adding some sort of
>> '--auto-repack' option to git-clone.  It's a relatively small
>> change, and would work.  However, keeping in mind my end goal of
>> automating the feature to the point where you could run simply
>> 'git clone <url>', an '--auto-repack' option is more difficult to
>> undo.  You would need a new parameter to disable the automatic
>> adding of reference repositories, and a new parameter to undo
>> '--auto-repack', and you'd have to remember to actually undo both
>> of those settings.
>> In contrast, if the new feature was '--borrow', and the evolution
>> of the feature was a global configuration 'fetch.autoBorrow', then
>> to turn it off temporarily, one only needs a single new parameter
>> '--no-auto-borrow'.  I think this is a cleaner approach than the
>> former, although much more work.
> I think you may have misread me.  With the "new option", I was
> hinting that the "clone --reference && repack && rm alternates"
> will be an acceptable internal implementation of the "--borrow"
> option that was mentioned in the thread.  I am not sure where you
> got the "auto-repack" from.

Ah, yes - that is better than what I was thinking.  I was thinking a bit
too low-level, and using two arguments in the place of your one.

> One of the reasons you may have misread me may be because I made it
> sound as if "this may work and when it works you will be happy, but
> if it does not work you did not lose very much" by mentioning "mv &&
> fsck".  That wasn't what I meant.
> The "repack -a" procedure is to make the borrower repository no
> longer dependent on the borrowee, and it is supposed to always work.
> In fact, this behaviour was the whole reason why "repack" later
> learned its "-l" option to disable it, because people who cloned
> with "--reference" in order to reduce the disk footprint by sharing
> older and more common objects [*1*] were rightfully surprised to see
> that the borrowed objects were copied over to their borrower
> repository when they ran "repack" [*2*].
> Because this is "clone", there is nothing complex to "undo".  Either
> it succeeds, or you remove the whole new directory if anything
> fails.
> I said "even in the final version" for a simple reason: you cannot
> cannot do realistically any better than the "clone --reference &&
> repack -a d && rm alternates" sequence.

Wow, that's very insightful - thanks!  So, it sounds like I was right about
the general areas of concern when trying to do this during a fetch, but
I underestimated just how complicated it would be.

Okay, so to re-frame my idea, like you said, the goal is to find a user-
friendly way for the user to tell git-clone to set up the alternates file
(or perhaps just use the --alternates parameter), and run a repack,
and disconnect the alternate.  And yet, we still want to be able to use
--reference on its own, because there are existing use cases for that.

 - Andrew Keller

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