It's possible for concurrent web edits to race and the winner commits both changes at once with its commit message (see r2779). The loser gets a message that there were conflicts and gets to see his own edits as the conflicting edits he's supposed to resolve.

This can happen because writes the change, then drops the main wiki lock before calling rcs_commit. It can't keep the lock because the commit hook needs to be able to lock.

We batted this around for an hour or two on irc. The best solution seems to be adding a subsidiary second lock, which is only used to lock the working copy and is a blocking read/write lock.

  • As before, the CGI will take the main wiki lock when starting up.
  • Before writing to the WC, the CGI takes an exclusive lock on the WC.
  • After writing to the WC, the CGI can downgrade it to a shared lock. (If this downgrade does not happen atomically, other CGIs can steal the exclusive lock.)
  • Then the CGI, as before, drops the main wiki lock to prevent deadlock. It keeps its shared WC lock.
  • The commit hook takes first the main wiki lock and then the shared WC lock when starting up, and holds them until it's done.
  • Once the commit is done, the CGI, as before, does not attempt to regain the main wiki lock (that could deadlock). It does its final stuff and exits, dropping the shared WC lock.


Using fcntl locking from perl is very hard. flock locking has the problem that one some OSes (linux?) converting an exclusive to a shared lock is not atomic and can be raced. What happens if this race occurs is that, since ikiwiki always uses LOCK_NB, the flock fails. Then we're back to the original race. It should be possible though to use a separate exclusive lock, wrapped around these flock calls, to force them to be "atomic" and avoid that race.

My alternative idea, which seems simpler than all this tricky locking stuff, is to introduce a new lock file (really a flag file implemented using a lock), which tells the commit hook that the CGI is running, and makes the commit hook a NOOP.

  • CGI takes the wikilock
  • CGI writes changes to WC
  • CGI sets wclock to disable the commit hook
  • CGI does not drop the main wikilock
  • CGI commit
  • The commit hook tries to set the wclock, fails, and becomes a noop (it may still need to send commit mails)
  • CGI removes wclock, thus re-enabling the commit hook
  • CGI updates the WC (since the commit hook didn't)
  • CGI renders the wiki (always. commits may have came in and not been rendered)
  • CGI checks for conflicts, and if any are found does its normal dance

It seems like there are two things to be concerned with: RCS commit between disable of hook and CGI commit, or RCS commit between CGI commit and re-enable of hook. The second case isn't a big deal if the CGI is gonna rerender everything anyhow. --?Ethan

I agree, and I think that the second case points to the hooks still being responsible for sending out commit mails. Everything else the CGI can do.

I don't believe that the first case is actually a problem: If the RCS commit does not introduce a conflict then the CGI commit's changes will be merged into the repo cleanly. OTOH, if the RCS commit does introduces a conflict then the CGI commit will fail gracefully. This is exactly what happens now if RCS commit happens while a CGI commit is in progress! Ie:

  • cgi takes the wikilock
  • cgi writes change to wc
  • svn commit -m "conflict" (this makes a change to repo immediately, then runs the post-commit hook, which waits on the wikilock)
  • cgi drops wikilock
  • the post-commit hook from the above manual commit can now run.
  • cgi calls rcs_commit, which fails due to the conflict just introduced

The only difference to this scenario will be that the CGI will not drop the wiki lock before its commit, and that the post-commit hook will turn into a NOOP:

  • cgi takes the wikilock
  • cgi writes change to wc
  • cgi takes the wclock
  • svn commit -m "conflict" (this makes a change to repo immediately, then runs the post-commit hook, which becomes a NOOP)
  • cgi calls rcs_commit, which fails due to the conflict just introduced
  • cgi renders the wiki

Actually, the only thing that scares me about this apprach a little is that we have two locks. The CGI takes them in the order (wikilock, wclock). The commit hook takes them in the order (wclock, wikilock). This is a classic potential deadlock scenario. However, the commit hook should close the wclock as soon as it successfully opens it, before taking the wikilock, so I think that's ok.

I've committed an implementation of my idea just above, and it seems to work, although testing for races etc is tricky. Calling this done unless someone finds a new bug or finds a problem in my thinking above. --Joey