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Re: daily "Cannot allocate memory"-problem

From: Chip Turner <cturner_at_redhat.com>
Date: 2005-03-21 05:46:31 CET

Ben Collins-Sussman <sussman@collab.net> writes:

>>> That's easy to fix, just make it so BDB doesn't cause about 80% of the
>>> problems reported to this list :)
>> If you all start using fsfs, that should happen soon enough....
> Yes, there are problems with the way Subversion utilizes BDB. Yes,
> we're working to fix the usage, and Sleepycat is working on changing
> BDB to address some of these things as well.
> Regardless (as has been said in the past): reading this list gives a
> skewed view of reality. If I were reading this list, I would think
> BDB is some horrible, unusable thing. My guess, though, is that 95%
> of people using BDB repositories have no problems whatsoever. The 5%
> who have problems tend to dominate the list.

I would be highly, highly surprised if the split is 95/5. The minute
you start doing anything complex (svn+ssh with multiple users, for
instance) you -will- have bdb trouble unless you happened to read the
fine print inside the svn book. And even then, following every best
practice from shell scripts wrapping svnserve w/umask to sticky bits
on dirs to the exact version of bdb suggested... problems still arise.
The simple fact is, bdb is one of -the- prohibiting factors from
subversion being more reliable (and, more importantly, as you hint,
being -perceived- as being more reliable).

The simple truth of the matter is, if people use fsfs from the very
beginning, they will have a much smoother, hassle-free experience with
subversion than if they use bdb. Whether it is svn's fault or
sleepycat's fault or solar flares, this remains as a fact -- fsfs is
easier to get running and less prone to peculiar behavior. It would
be one thing if bdb would have troubles getting running, but once
running, behaved properly, or if it had sensible error messages
instead of just freezing every svnserve, svnadmin, etc, but it
doesn't... it's a minefield for an unsophisticated user and it begins
blowing up when they try to take the single repo they have working and
share it among coworkers.

Subversion is so excellent and impressive otherwise; I just find it a
real shame that people get a bad taste in their mouth from using the
bdb backend, especially now that there is such an effective


Chip Turner                   cturner@redhat.com
                              Red Hat, Inc.
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Received on Mon Mar 21 05:49:05 2005

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