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Developing for groundstation is made awkward by its design. I'm finding that Vagrant works reasonably well, a Vagrantfile is distributed in HACKING/


The station is the core of groundstation. It represents a warpper around (For now) a single git object database. the network stuff isn't directly related, but the sole purpose of groundstations network stack is to interact with a station object.


Stationd implements an event driven mainloop. This loop blocks on the sockets (streaming and discovery), but allows allows events to be bound up for the "next tick" in the form of iterators.

Because iterators will tend to queue up some outgoing network IO, for this reason you won't be at the mercy of the event loop while waiting for IO to happen, but should your sockets start blocking, you won't be allowed to write, although even then your packets are written to a queue and not directly to the socket, so this shouldn't be something you need to be concerned about.

object trees

For obvious reasons, objects can't contain forward references without changing their hashes and thereby making themselves useless. This makes walking the tree forwards difficult, especially as it makes writing out indexes in any meaningful way impossible without enforcing cross repository locking. My current tentative solution to this is as follows:


Given an object a, with forward ancestors b, c, and d such that the tree looks like:

  1. An indexing process will start at one of the foremost nodes (at time of writing, this should occur when new objects are written with ancestors)

  2. This process should enumerate its ancestors, writing them out to a tempfile in the repository (tentatively in /tmp/$$/... for dotlocking) one hash per line, in reverse order, ie most recent commit first.

  3. Upon completion, this process will use an atomic mv/rename implementation to create a file in $objdb/rindex with the name of the object whose history has been enumerated.

  4. This process may at its option then unlink the files named by any ancestors named in the file just written.



According to the current indexing spec, for the tree given by:

     \    /

Once the rindex is resolved, a search for f will return g, which in turn includes d and e which have nothing to do with f. Notation for branching and resolution will need to be created.

Writing data out

Updates to refs that are recieved from a peer should be accompanied by a valid signature. All objects should be accepted (unless the signature is actually invalid, not just untrusted), but only objects that are signed by a trusted party should be included into the rindex for consideration for rendering.


To find the forward ancestors of a given object, simply grep over $odjdb/reindex for the commit has in question. the filenames represent the tips, any intermediate nodes are contained inside the file.

object structure


Objects are represented by tree structures, beginning with a root node (Which will be implementation specific, but for reasons relating to user sanity you should create a root node with the bare amount of uniquely identifying data possible, to maximise the chances that two people doing the same thing gets the same hash if you're pulling data in) and a series of transformative updates on these root objects.


A transformation is represented as an ObjectEvent which will contain an event specific payload which should be treated as a mask for the underlying event.

Transformations can (and will) have multiple parents, but it should be noted that noop merges will not be possible, merges will be created when NEW events are created, as all visible tips will be direct ancestors to the new ObjectEvent.


Presenting data will not be done with a single node, but rather with the tips of all divergent branches from a root object.

Tie resolution is currently undefined.

updating refs

Unlike in git, a ref doesn't point ot a single commit, instead it points to all the valid tips of a commit.

As such, the process for updating a ref should be:

  1. Create a directory for the ref in grefs/$refname, respecting slashes as though they were native to the fs.

  2. Inside this ref directory, create a file for each tip that now exists on the ref. This file should contain the signature for the update to that ref (this is a TODO)

  3. Any previously existing files should be unlinked, AFTER each child ref is written.

Therefore, a state transformation for an update might look like:

grefs/ ::


Currently, the grefs directory contains two files, d and e, each theoretically with a valid signature.

grefs/ ::

       \   /

After this, f is written out with a new signature, and then d and e are unlinked.


Important reminder for the forgetful:

protobuf strings come out as python unicodes. protobuf bytess come out as python strings (or bytearrays in python3)

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