[Pharo-dev] [squeak-dev] The .changes file should be bound to a single image

David T. Lewis lewis at mail.msen.com
Wed Jun 29 23:07:13 UTC 2016

On Wed, Jun 29, 2016 at 02:00:19PM -0400, David T. Lewis wrote:
> Let's not solve the wrong problem folks. I only looked at this for 10
> minutes this morning, and I think (but I am not sure) that the issue
> affects the case of saving the image, and that the normal writing of
> changes is fine.

I am wrong.

I spent some more time with this, and it is clear that two images saving
chunks to the same changes file will result in corrupted change records
in the changes file. It is not just an issue related to the image save
as I suggested above.

In practice, this is not an issue that either Chris or I have noticed,
probably because we are not doing software development (saving method
changes) at the same time that we are running RemoteTask and similar.
But I can certainly see how it might be a problem if, for example, I
had a bunch of students running the same image from a network shared


> Max was running on Pharo, which may or may not be handling changes the
> same way. I think he may be seeing a different problem from the one I
> confirmed.
> So a bit more testing and verification would be in order. I can't look at
> it now though.
> Dave
> >
> >> On 29-06-2016, at 10:35 AM, Eliot Miranda <eliot.miranda at gmail.com>
> >> wrote:
> >>
> > {snip much rant}
> >
> >> The most obvious place where this is an issue is where two images are
> >> using the same changes file and think they???re appending. Image A seeks
> >> to the end of the file, ???writes??? stuff. Image B near-simultaneously
> >> does the same. Eventually each process gets around to pushing data to
> >> hardware. Oops! And let???s not dwell too much on the problems possible
> >> if either process causes a truncation of the file. Oh, wait, I think we
> >> actually had a problem with that some years ago.
> >>
> >> The thing is that this problem bites even if we have a unitary primitive
> >> that both positions and writes if that primitive is written above a
> >> substrate that, as unix and stdio streams do, separates positioning from
> >> writing.  The primitive is neat but it simply drives the problem further
> >> underground.
> >
> >
> > Oh absolutely - we only have real control over a small part of it. It
> > would probably be worth making use of that where we can.
> >
> >>
> >> A more robust solution might be to position, write, reposition, read,
> >> and compare, shortening on corruption, and retrying, using exponential
> >> back-off like ethernet packet transmission.  Most of the time this adds
> >> only the overhead of reading what's written.
> >
> > Yes, for anything we want reliable that???s probably a good way. A limit
> > on the number of retries would probably be smart to stop infinite
> > recursion. Imagine the fun of an error causing infinite retries of writing
> > an error log about an infinite recursion. On an infinitely large Beowulf
> > cluster!
> >
> > It???s all yet another example of where software meeting reality leads to
> > nightmares.
> >
> >
> > tim
> > --
> > tim Rowledge; tim at rowledge.org; http://www.rowledge.org/tim
> > If it was easy, the hardware people would take care of it.
> >
> >
> >

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