RFC: adding xdelta compression to git

From: Alon Ziv <alonz@nolaviz.org>
Date: 2005-05-03 13:57:38
Looking for novel methods of wasting my time :), I am considering adding 
xdelta to git.

I have two concrete proposals, both of which (IMO) are consistent with the git 

1. Add a git-deltify command, which will take two trees and replace the second 
tree's blobs with delta-blobs referring to the first tree. Each delta-blob is 
self-contained; from the outside it looks like any other blob, but internally 
it contains another blob reference + an xdelta. The only function which would 
need to understand the new format would be unpack_sha1_file.
The scripting level will be in charge of deciding which trees to deltify (or 
undeltify--we could also have a "git-undeltify" command). A sane 
deltification schedule, for example, could be to always keep tagged versions 
as stand-alone objects, and deltify intermediate versions against the latest 
tag. It would also do its best to avoid delta chains (i.e. a delta referring 
to another delta).
* Interoperates with the existing structure (including pull/push) with almost 
no changes to existing infrastructure.
* Changes the repository format.
* Some performance impact (probably quite small).
* Same blob may have different representation in two repositories (one 
compressed, on deltified). [I am not sure this is really a bad thing...]

2. Add a completely external framework which manages a "deltas repository" of 
deltas. The shadow repository will contain delta objects between selected 
trees; again the scripts will need to populate it.
* No changes at all to existing code.
* Push/pull tools will need to be taught to talk with the new "deltas  
* Synchronization between the deltas repository and the real one may be lost, 
leading to odd failures.

Personally I'm rooting for #1 above... I would like to begin implementation in 
a few days, so any discussion will be useful.

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Received on Tue May 03 13:58:14 2005

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