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Re: PostgreSQL extensions packaging

From: "Tom Dunstan" <tomdcc(at)gmail(dot)com>
To: "Dimitri Fontaine" <dfontaine(at)hi-media(dot)com>
Cc: "Pgsql Hackers" <pgsql-hackers(at)postgresql(dot)org>
Subject: Re: PostgreSQL extensions packaging
Date: 2008-07-23 23:40:30
Message-ID: ca33c0a30807231640n6fb4035dod8121a18aa1fa29c@mail.gmail.com (view raw or flat)
Thread:
Lists: pgsql-hackers
Hi!

On Wed, Jul 23, 2008 at 5:08 PM, Dimitri Fontaine
<dfontaine(at)hi-media(dot)com> wrote:
> I promised to have an in-depth look at the archives before to spend time on
> my ideas for $subject, but failed to do so.

I guess that means you missed both the original discussion at
http://archives.postgresql.org/pgsql-hackers/2008-04/msg00132.php and
my initial patch in that direction and subsequent discussion at
http://archives.postgresql.org/pgsql-hackers/2008-04/msg00132.php then
:(.

There were two core components to my idea of modules/packages:
 - Separation of installation at an OS level (RPM/yum, deb/dpkg, MSI
installer etc) and installation into a database. The intention was a)
to standardize package installation generally so that users didn't
have to read n different sets of installation instructions for n
different packages, and b) so that a db owner could install into their
own database any module that had been installed on the system, even if
that might include e.g. C functions that they otherwise would not be
able to install without being a superuser.

- Have dependency tracking so that pg_dump could emit e.g. "LOAD
MODULE foo;" rather than all the different instructions to recreate
the module.

So the proposed installation procedure would be more along the lines of:

yum install postgresql-module-postgis
echo "load module postgis" | psql mydb

My intention was to use whatever native package manager was
appropriate for your distro rather than trying to recreate CPAN,
although some people in the original discussion wanted to go down that
route.

The patch that I provided didn't do any of the dependency stuff yet -
I had been investigating various ways to do it automagically, although
I haven't worked on it for a little while. It may be that the straight
forward explicit declaration that you have here is a better way to do
it.

I didn't have versioning and interdependencies between modules yet,
although it's an obvious extension to the idea.

> A package can also host variables, which visibility are
> package global: any SQL into the package can refer directly to package
> variables.

That was way out of scope for my more modest suggestion - I certainly
wasn't going to change pl/pgsql semantics. For example, how do those
variables behave upon a transaction rollback?

> Now, what would be really good to have would be this pg_pkg command I was
> dreaming about in another -hacker mail:

This turns into recreating CPAN. I like the idea of a "blessed" set of
packages, but would rather not require all postgresql users to have a
full build environment (especially on windows) and have to replace
their native packaging solution. It seems that you agree that
fetching/installing should be separate from loading/installing into
the database. Good. Some posters on the original thread were
suggesting that the fetch/install step should somehow do the database
installation as well, which sounded like a huge can of worms.


I think that we can come up with a package/module format that allows
installation at the OS level without demanding a whole set of download
/ build machinery. If someone then wants to build that and have it
install packages, then fine, but we definitely should not require it
to be able to install stuff.

Look forward to your comments

Cheers

Tom

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