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GLEP 61: Manifest2 compression
Type Standards Track
Status Draft
Author Robin Hugh Johnson <>
Replaced by (none)
Requires GLEP:44
Post History


Deals with compression of large Manifest2 files.


With the introduction of MetaManifest, and full-tree Manifest coverage, we are faced with the possibility of having very large Manifests.

Preliminary experiments with MetaManifest, show that with just the existing per-package Manifests, the full MetaManifest (top-level only, no first-level sub directories), for a tree including metadata/, exceeds 8MiB in size. Applying common compression can achieve a 50-60% reduction in this size.

Additionally, some of the larger already-existing Manifests in the tree can also be reduced.

This GLEP is not mandatory for the tree-signing specification, but instead helps to cut down the size impact of large Manifest2 files, some of which are already present in the tree. As such, it is also able to stand on its own.


Creation of compressed Manifests

32KiB is suggested as a arbitrary cut-off point to start generating compressed Manifest2 files.

The compression must only applied during the creation of a tree intended for end users. No Manifests stored in a VCS should be compressed in the VCS. For the main gentoo-portage tree, this means that the compressed Manifests should be generated using the CVS to Rsync process.

The Manifest compression process is required to ensure that inconsistent compressed versions do not exist.

Validation of Manifests

When searching for a Manifest2 file, if the basename form does not exist, the package manager should search in the same location using common compressed suffixes, and use the compressed file in place of the Manifest2.

gzip, bzip2, lzma, xz should all be supported if available on the given platform. In the case that multiple versions exist, the package manager should simply pick one - they should be identical, differing only in compression.

Example Results with a 32KiB cut-off, gzip algorithm

As of 2010/01/30, the suggested cut-off would impact the following 21 existing Manifests, for a saving of nearly 900KiB:

 Size   Path
  65788 app-doc/linux-gazette/Manifest
  75739 app-office/openoffice-bin/Manifest
  40534 app-text/texlive-core/Manifest
  41710 dev-texlive/texlive-bibtexextra/Manifest
  38197 dev-texlive/texlive-documentation-english/Manifest
 129610 dev-texlive/texlive-fontsextra/Manifest
  36022 dev-texlive/texlive-humanities/Manifest
 686118 dev-texlive/texlive-latexextra/Manifest
  43392 dev-texlive/texlive-latexrecommended/Manifest
  33375 dev-texlive/texlive-mathextra/Manifest
  39781 dev-texlive/texlive-pictures/Manifest
  69567 dev-texlive/texlive-pstricks/Manifest
  75460 dev-texlive/texlive-publishers/Manifest
  50879 dev-texlive/texlive-science/Manifest
  36711 kde-base/kde-l10n/Manifest
  36539 media-gfx/bootsplash-themes/Manifest
  33058 net-fs/autofs/Manifest
  39781 www-client/firefox-bin/Manifest
  48983 www-client/icecat/Manifest
  60213 www-client/mozilla-firefox/Manifest
  39065 x11-themes/gkrellm-themes/Manifest

Additionally, with the MetaManifest proposal, the following new manifests would also be compressed, for a saving of nearly 4MiB:

 Size    Path
   33442 app-admin/Manifest
   71073 app-dicts/Manifest
   35923 app-emacs/Manifest
   45808 app-misc/Manifest
   50169 app-text/Manifest
  112786 dev-java/Manifest
   65581 dev-libs/Manifest
   42619 dev-lisp/Manifest
  182163 dev-perl/Manifest
   96198 dev-python/Manifest
   58963 dev-ruby/Manifest
   59736 dev-util/Manifest
   58338 eclass/Manifest
   55749 kde-base/Manifest
  110064 licenses/Manifest
   35262 media-gfx/Manifest
   53995 media-libs/Manifest
   55607 media-plugins/Manifest
   71911 media-sound/Manifest
   34835 media-video/Manifest
 5747849 metadata/Manifest
   47452 net-analyzer/Manifest
   65989 net-misc/Manifest
  316787 profiles/Manifest
   67784 sys-apps/Manifest
   48971 x11-misc/Manifest
   41475 x11-plugins/Manifest

Backwards Compatibility

The package Manifests should also be maintained as ONLY uncompressed in CVS.

For processing of all existing per-package Manifests, if compression is used, it should be done in parallel to the existing Manifests, to provide for a changeover period. Newer versions of Portage may later choose to exclude all non-compressed Manifests during emerge --sync if compressed versions are guaranteed to exist on the servers.

MetaManifests may come into existence as compressed from the start, as do not have an backwards compatibility issues.

As a side note, this breaks all manual interaction with Manifests such as grep, and so should only be applied to large Manifest2 files, such as the MetaManifest.


Copyright (c) 2008-2010 by Robin Hugh Johnson. This material may be distributed only subject to the terms and conditions set forth in the Open Publication License, v1.0.