Moss DB Progress

Tuesday, August 3, 2021 - Ikey Doherty (BDFL)

I’ll try to make this update as brief as I can but it’s certainly an important one, so let’s dive right into it. The last few weeks have been rough but work on our package manager has still been happening. Today we’re happy to reveal another element of the equation: moss-db.

Putting moss-db to the test

moss-db is an abstract API providing access to simplistic “Key Value” stores. We had initially used some payload based files as databases but that introduced various hurdles, so we decided to take a more abstract approach to not tie ourselves to any specific implementation of a database.

Our main goal with moss-db is to encapsulate the RocksDB library, providing sane, idiomatic access to a key value store.

High level requirements

At the highest level, we needed something that could store arbitrary keys and values, grouped by some kind of common key (commonly known as “buckets”). We’ve succeeded in that abstraction, which also required us to fork a rocksdb-binding to add the Transform APIs required.

Additionally we required idiomatic range behaviours for iteration, as well as generic access patterns. To that affect we can now foreach a bucket, pipe it through the awesomely powerful std.algorithm APIs, and automatically encode/decode keys and values through our generic APIs when implementing the mossdbEncode() and mossdbDecode() functions for a specific type.

In a nutshell, this was the old, ugly, hard way:

	/* old, hard way */
	auto nameZ = name.toStringz();
	int age = 100;
	ubyte[int.sizeof] ageEncoded = nativeToBigEndian(ageEncoded);
	db.setDatum(cast(ubyte[]) (nameZ[0 .. strlen(nameZ)]), ageEncoded);

And this is the new, shmexy way:

    db.set("john", 100);
    db.set("user 100", "bobby is my name");

    auto result = db.get!int("john");
    if (result.found)

    auto result2 = db.get!string("user 100");
    if (result2.found)

It’s quite easy to see the new API lends itself robustly to our needs, so that we may implement stateful, strongly typed databases for moss.

Next Steps

Even though some APIs in moss-db may still be lacking (remove, for example) we’re happy that it can provide the foundation for our next steps. We now need to roll out the new StateDB, MetaDB and LayoutDB, to record system states, package metadata, and filesystem layout information, respectively.

With those 3 basic requirements in place we can combine the respective works into installation routines. Which, clearly, warrants another blog post … :)

For now you can see the relevant projects on our GitLab project.

Like What You See? Join the Collective

Work on Serpent OS is made possible by an awesome community. With their continued support we're able to keep working on the project, as well as covering the running costs and purchase of hardware, etc.