Once files are added (or removed or moved), need to send those changes to all the other git clones, at both the git level and the key/value level.

misc TODO

  • Test MountWatcher on LXDE.
  • Add a hook, so when there's a change to sync, a program can be run and do its own signaling.
  • --debug will show often unnecessary work being done. Optimise.
  • Configurablity, including only enabling git syncing but not data transfer; only uploading new files but not downloading, and only downloading files in some directories and not others. See for use cases: Wishlist: options for syncing meta-data and data
  • speed up git syncing by using the cached ssh connection for it too Will need to use GIT_SSH, which needs to point to a command to run, not a shell command line. Beware that the network connection may have bounced and the cached ssh connection not be usable.
  • Map the network of git repos, and use that map to calculate optimal transfers to keep the data in sync. Currently a naive flood fill is done instead. Maybe use XMPP as a side channel to learn about the network topology?
  • Find a more efficient way for the TransferScanner to find the transfers that need to be done to sync with a remote. Currently it walks the git working copy and checks each file. That probably needs to be done once, but further calls to the TransferScanner could eg, look at the delta between the last scan and the current one in the git-annex branch.
  • ?use multiple transfer slots
  • The TransferQueue's list of deferred downloads could theoretically grow without bounds in memory. Limit it to a given number of entries, and fall back to some other method -- either storing deferred downloads on disk, or perhaps scheduling a TransferScanner run to get back into sync.

More efficient syncing

See efficiency

TransferScanner efficiency

The TransferScanner thread needs to find keys that need to be Uploaded to a remote, or Downloaded from it.

How to find the keys to transfer? I'd like to avoid potentially expensive traversals of the whole git working copy if I can. (Currently, the TransferScanner does do the naive and possibly expensive scan of the git working copy.)

One way would be to do a git diff between the (unmerged) git-annex branches of the git repo, and its remote. Parse that for lines that add a key to either, and queue transfers. That should work fairly efficiently when the remote is a git repository. Indeed, git-annex already does such a diff when it's doing a union merge of data into the git-annex branch. It might even be possible to have the union merge and scan use the same git diff data.

But that approach has several problems:

  1. The list of keys it would generate wouldn't have associated git filenames, so the UI couldn't show the user what files were being transferred.
  2. Worse, without filenames, any later features to exclude files/directories from being transferred wouldn't work.
  3. Looking at a git diff of the git-annex branches would find keys that were added to either side while the two repos were disconnected. But if the two repos' keys were not fully in sync before they disconnected (which is quite possible; transfers could be incomplete), the diff would not show those older out of sync keys.

The remote could also be a special remote. In this case, I have to either traverse the git working copy, or perhaps traverse the whole git-annex branch (which would have the same problems with filesnames not being available).

If a traversal is done, should check all remotes, not just one. Probably worth handling the case where a remote is connected while in the middle of such a scan, so part of the scan needs to be redone to check it.


  1. Can use git annex sync, which already handles bidirectional syncing. When a change is committed, launch the part of git annex sync that pushes out changes. done; changes are pushed out to all remotes in parallel
  2. Watch .git/refs/remotes/ for changes (which would be pushed in from another node via git annex sync), and run the part of git annex sync that merges in received changes, and follow it by the part that pushes out changes (sending them to any other remotes). [The watching can be done with the existing inotify code! This avoids needing any special mechanism to notify a remote that it's been synced to.]
  3. Periodically retry pushes that failed. done (every half an hour)
  4. Also, detect if a push failed due to not being up-to-date, pull, and repush. done
  5. Use a git merge driver that adds both conflicting files, so conflicts never break a sync. done

  6. on-disk transfers in progress information files (read/write/enumerate) done

  7. locking for the files, so redundant transfer races can be detected, and failed transfers noticed done
  8. transfer info for git-annex-shell done
  9. update files as transfers proceed. See progressbars (updating for downloads is easy; for uploads is hard)
  10. add Transfer queue TChan done
  11. add TransferInfo Map to DaemonStatus for tracking transfers in progress. done
  12. Poll transfer in progress info files for changes (use inotify again! wow! hammer, meet nail..), and update the TransferInfo Map done
  13. enqueue Transfers (Uploads) as new files are added to the annex by Watcher. done
  14. enqueue Tranferrs (Downloads) as new dangling symlinks are noticed by Watcher. done (Note: Needs git-annex branch to be merged before the tree is merged, so it knows where to download from. Checked and this is the case.)
  15. Write basic Transfer handling thread. Multiple such threads need to be able to be run at once. Each will need its own independant copy of the Annex state monad. done
  16. Write transfer control thread, which decides when to launch transfers. done
  17. Transfer watching has a race on kqueue systems, which makes finished fast transfers not be noticed by the TransferWatcher. Which in turn prevents the transfer slot being freed and any further transfers from happening. So, this approach is too fragile to rely on for maintaining the TransferSlots. Instead, need ?assistant threaded runtime, which would allow running something for sure when a transfer thread finishes. done
  18. Test MountWatcher on KDE, and add whatever dbus events KDE emits when drives are mounted. done
  19. It would be nice if, when a USB drive is connected, syncing starts automatically. Use dbus on Linux? done
  20. Optimisations in 5c3e14649ee7c404f86a1b82b648d896762cbbc2 temporarily broke content syncing in some situations, which need to be added back. done

    Now syncing a disconnected remote only starts a transfer scan if the remote's git-annex branch has diverged, which indicates it probably has new files. But that leaves open the cases where the local repo has new files; and where the two repos git branches are in sync, but the content transfers are lagging behind; and where the transfer scan has never been run.

    Need to track locally whether we're believed to be in sync with a remote. This includes:

    • All local content has been transferred to it successfully.
    • The remote has been scanned once for data to transfer from it, and all transfers initiated by that scan succeeded.

    Note the complication that, if it's initiated a transfer, our queued transfer will be thrown out as unnecessary. But if its transfer then fails, that needs to be noticed.

    If we're going to track failed transfers, we could just set a flag, and use that flag later to initiate a new transfer scan. We need a flag in any case, to ensure that a transfer scan is run for each new remote. The flag could be .git/annex/transfer/scanned/uuid.

    But, if failed transfers are tracked, we could also record them, in order to retry them later, without the scan. I'm thinking about a directory like .git/annex/transfer/failed/{upload,download}/uuid/, which failed transfer log files could be moved to.

  21. A remote may lose content it had before, so when requeuing a failed download, check the location log to see if the remote still has the content, and if not, queue a download from elsewhere. (And, a remote may get content we were uploading from elsewhere, so check the location log when queuing a failed Upload too.) done
  22. Fix MountWatcher to notice umounts and remounts of drives. done
  23. Run transfer scan on startup. done
  24. Often several remotes will be queued for full TransferScanner scans, and the scan does the same thing for each .. so it would be better to combine them into one scan in such a case. done
  25. The syncing code currently doesn't run for special remotes. While transfering the git info about special remotes could be a complication, if we assume that's synced between existing git remotes, it should be possible for them to do file transfers to/from special remotes. done

  26. The transfer code doesn't always manage to transfer file contents.

    Besides reconnection events, there are two places where transfers get queued:

    1. When the committer commits a file, it queues uploads.
    2. When the watcher sees a broken symlink be created, it queues downloads.

    Consider a doubly-linked chain of three repositories, A B and C. (C and A do not directly communicate.)

    • File is added to A.
    • A uploads its content to B.
    • At the same time, A git syncs to B.
    • Once B gets the git sync, it git syncs to C.
    • When C's watcher sees the file appear, it tries to download it. But if B had not finished receiving the file from A, C doesn't know B has it, and cannot download it from anywhere.

    Possible solution: After B receives content, it could queue uploads of it to all remotes that it doesn't know have it yet, which would include C. done

    In practice, this had the problem that when C receives the content, it will queue uploads of it, which can send back to B (or to some other repo that already has the content) and loop, until the git-annex branches catch up and break the cycle.

    To avoid that problem, incoming uploads should not result in a transfer info file being written when the key is already present. done

    Possible solution: C could record a deferred download. (Similar to a failed download, but with an unknown source.) When C next receives a git-annex branch push, it could try to queue deferred downloads. done

    Note that this solution won't cover use cases the other does. For example, connect a USB drive A; B syncs files from it, and then should pass them to C. If the files are not new, C won't immediatly request them from B.

  27. Running the assistant in a fresh clone of a repository, it sometimes skips downloading a file, while successfully downloading all the rest. There does not seem to be an error message. This will sometimes reproduce (in a fresh clone each time) several times in a row, but then stops happening, which has prevented me from debugging it. This could possibly have been caused by the bug fixed in 750c4ac6c282d14d19f79e0711f858367da145e4. Provisionally closed.