Programming

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Overview and archeological exploration of the MepSQL Bakery

This is the final part in a series of posts about the MepSQL build system known as MepSQL Bakery. MepSQL is a (yet another) fork of the MySQL database server, with the server based on the MySQLatFacebook code and the build system based on the MariaDB build system.

In this final post I wish to draw a high level picture of the complete process of building TAR, DEB and (eventually) RPM packages from the source code. There's not much more technical details to add to the previous posts, instead I'm going to make some, shall we say "archeological", observations which imho are interesting given how the build system has evolved when being passed from one project to another. Perhaps more importantly, I will also say a few words about where I think the future direction lies.

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Dealing with the Cambrian Explosion 2/2: Parameterizing the package name in DEB files

Yesterday I wrote down the approach used in the MepSQL build system to parameterize the TAR package name produced. Today I will follow up with how the same was done for building DEBs. The motivation is to create a system that can be used flexibly to create packages of any MySQL fork, with any brand name: mepsql-server-*.deb, percona-server-server-*.deb, mariadb-server-*.deb or even just mysql-server-*.deb (which I might do some day).

While yesterday's tricks with the TAR files were rather straightforward, with the process of building DEBs this turns out to be much more challenging. But not to worry, like my former collague Bernhard Ocklin used to say: This is software, anything is of course possible.

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Dealing with the Cambrian Explosion 1/2: How to parameterize the package name in source and binary TAR files

As I mentioned before, it seems that thanks to Git and Bzr introducing distributed version control workflows, the open source community is now living in a phase where forking is easy and happens frequently - referred to by Brian Aker as the Cambrian Explosion of open source. We certainly see that happening in the MySQL Community.

Assuming you have the competence and know your way around a codebase, forking a proper open source project isn't that hard. You create your own project on GitHub or Launchpad and copy the source code. 1 But one thing you need to do is to change to using the new name (Drizzle, Percona, MariaDB, MepSQL....). Typically you want to keep using the original command line and file names (mysql, mysqld_safe, libmysql...), yet the product name as it appears in your installation packages is changed to distinguish it from the parent project.

In the life of an open source project a name change is a relatively rare occurrence. Most projects never fork or change their name. So it is not surprising that all the tools and methods we use while programming assume that the product name is a constant. It turns out it is hardwired into build scripts here and there. Sometimes excessively: when building DEB files the word "mysql" is used over a hundred different times!

  1. 1. As noted in previous posts, if everything isn't fully open source, which is the case with MySQL, you have a challenge in reproducing from scratch the missing parts, like documentation, build system, etc...
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Going from MariaDB to MepSQL BuildBot setup and using EC2LatentBuildSlave to save money

This is the third post in a series about developing the MepSQL build system. In the previous posts we chose BuildBot running in the Amazon EC2 cloud. In this post we actually get a closer look at how the packages are being built (to be followed by even closer looks in later posts :-)

One of the things missing when you fork MySQL is the build system. (The other main missing component being the manual.) It is possible for anyone to compile MySQL from source, but the actual build system (scripts, testing, etc) used by MySQL itself is not public. The same is true for the automated testing. MariaDB uses the open source tool called BuildBot for both of these tasks - in this post we are mainly concerned about the building of packages. Actually, we are mainly concerned with BuildBot itself and the details about building packages is saved for a later post. I will document both the MariaDB system and the MepSQL system which was derived from that.

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Looking at OpenSuse Build Service and Launchpad PPA (aka: How to build packages for MepSQL?)

This is the first part of many posts in a series of blog posts where I want to document how the MepSQL packages were built. By doing that, I will also end up covering the MariaDB build system (which this is based on), some of BuildBot, Amazon EC2 cloud and packaging DEBs and RPMs just in general, so it could be interesting from many perspectives. In this first part I'll simply scribble some notes about reviewing the OpenSuse Build System, Launchpad PPA service vs using your own servers and automating the builds with BuildBot.

Originally I just wanted to work on some new ideas on the automated build and QA system used by MariaDB. But since leaving Monty Program I didn't have access to any of those servers anymore, so as a first step I had to look into what alternatives there are for building binary packages for many operating systems and hardware platforms. In fact, this was another thing I had wanted to learn more about for a while. For instance Michal Hrušecký uses OpenSuse Build Service to build both MySQL and MariaDB packages for all RPM based distributions in the blink of an eye - I was interested to find out what's behind that magic.

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Announcing MepSQL, continuing the "Cambrian Explosion" of MySQL forks

Some time ago Stephen O'Grady and Brian Aker had an interesting Blogo-dialogue about what they call the "Cambrian Explosion" of open source development. The Cambrian Explosion means that we increasingly see forks of projects being developed in different directions, where traditionally we are used to open source development happening in relatively hierarchical and easy to follow upstream and downstream relationships. This is exactly what happens in the MySQL community currently, where in total there is more progress than ever before, but that progress is divided among several competing forks, none of which is strictly in an upstream-downstream hierarchy with each other.

I used to be a bit frustrated about this state of affairs, believing that if at least most of the forks could co-operate on a common tree, we would see even faster progress. But when I left MariaDB some months ago, I realized that the situation is what it is and since all existing MySQL variants are associated with a commercial vendor, there wasn't an obvious choice for me to continue contributing, which I still want to do. So I thought I might as well embrace this Cambrian Explosion thing and just publish my own fork as a contribution to the community.

And this is where I today announce the new MepSQL project and the immediate availability of MepSQL 5.1.52-alpha1.

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Contributed the Vineyard theme to Drupal

vineyard lorem ipsum thumbnail

Last week I finally uploaded to Drupal.org the Vineyard theme - ie the theme I created and use for openlife.cc. Releasing the theme as open source is something I always planned of doing, but never really got round to it. I'm especially proud of the fact the theme looks different than most Drupal themes I've seen, so I hope others can use this as a basis for creating nice sites.

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My own little open source project: Released Footnotes 2.2 over the weekend

It seems last week was a popular weekend for programming hobby projects, as it wasn't only me who was having fun with some recreative programming. Yesterday I published a new version of my Footnotes module for Drupal.

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