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1 g2boojum 1.1 GLEP: 33
2     Title: Eclass Restructure/Redesign
3 vapier 1.4 Version: $Revision: 1.3 $
4     Last-Modified: $Date: 2005/03/06 20:39:19 $
5 g2boojum 1.2 Author: Brian Harring <ferringb@gentoo.org>, John Mylchreest <johnm@gentoo.org>
6 g2boojum 1.1 Status: Draft
7     Type: Standards Track
8     Content-Type: text/x-rst
9     Created: 29-Jan-2005
10 g2boojum 1.3 Post-History: 29-Jan-2005 6-Mar-2005
11 g2boojum 1.1
13     Abstract
14     ========
16     For any design, the transition from theoretical to applied exposes inadequacies
17     in the original design. This document is intended to document, and propose a
18     revision of the current eclass setup to address current eclass inadequacies.
20 g2boojum 1.2 This document proposes several things- the creation of ebuild libraries, 'elibs',
21 g2boojum 1.1 a narrowing of the focus of eclasses, a move of eclasses w/in the tree, the
22     addition of changelogs, and a way to allow for simple eclass gpg signing.
23     In general, a large scale restructuring of what eclasses are and how they're
24     implemented. Essentially version two of the eclass setup.
27     Terminology
28     ===========
30     From this point on, the proposed eclass setup will be called 'new eclasses', the
31     existing crop (as of this writing) will be referenced as 'old eclasses'. The
32 g2boojum 1.2 distinction is elaborated on within this document.
33 g2boojum 1.1
35     Motivation and Rationale
36     ========================
38     Eclasses within the tree currently are a bit of a mess- they're forced to
39 g2boojum 1.2 maintain backwards compatibility w/ all previous functionality. In effect,
40 g2boojum 1.1 their api is constant, and can only be added to- never changing the existing
41 vapier 1.4 functionality. This obviously is quite limiting, and leads to cruft accruing in
42 g2boojum 1.1 eclasses as a eclasses design is refined. This needs to be dealt with prior to
43 g2boojum 1.2 eclass code reaching a critical mass where they become unmanageable/fragile
44     (recent pushes for eclass versioning could be interpreted as proof of this).
45 g2boojum 1.1
46     Beyond that, eclasses were originally intended as a method to allow for ebuilds
47     to use a pre-existing block of code, rather then having to duplicate the code in
48     each ebuild. This is a good thing, but there are ill effects that result from
49 vapier 1.4 the current design. Eclasses inherit other eclasses to get a single function- in
50 g2boojum 1.1 doing so, modifying the the exported 'template' (default src_compile, default
51 vapier 1.4 src_unpack, various vars, etc). All the eclass designer was after was reusing a
52 g2boojum 1.1 function, not making their eclass sensitive to changes in the template of the
53     eclass it's inheriting. The eclass designer -should- be aware of changes in the
54     function they're using, but shouldn't have to worry about their default src_*
55     and pkg_* functions being overwritten, let alone the env changes.
57     Addressing up front why a collection of eclass refinements are being rolled into
58     a single set of changes, parts of this proposal -could- be split into multiple
59     phases. Why do it though? It's simpler for developers to know that the first
60     eclass specification was this, and that the second specification is that,
61     rather then requiring them to be aware of what phase of eclass changes is in
62     progress.
64     By rolling all changes into one large change, a line is intentionally drawn in
65     the sand. Old eclasses allowed for this, behaved this way. New eclasses allow
66 vapier 1.4 for that, and behave this way. This should reduce misconceptions about what is
67 g2boojum 1.1 allowed/possible with eclasses, thus reducing bugs that result from said
68     misconceptions.
70 g2boojum 1.2 A few words on elibs- think of them as a clear definition between behavioral
71     functionality of an eclass, and the library functionality. Eclass's modify
72     template data, and are the basis for other ebuilds- elibs, however are *just*
73     common bash functionality.
75     Consider the majority of the portage bin/* scripts- these all are candidates for
76     being added to the tree as elibs, as is the bulk of eutils.
78 g2boojum 1.1
79 vapier 1.4 Specification
80     =============
81 g2boojum 1.1
82     The various parts of this proposal are broken down into a set of changes and
83     elaborations on why a proposed change is preferable. It's advisable to the
84     reader that this be read serially, rather then jumping around.
87     Ebuild Libraries (elibs for short)
88     ----------------------------------
90     As briefly touched upon in Motivation and Rationale, the original eclass design
91     allowed for the eclass to modify the metadata of an ebuild, metadata being the
92     DEPENDS, RDEPENDS, SRC_URI, IUSE, etc, vars that are required to be constant,
93     and used by portage for dep resolution, fetching, etc. Using the earlier
94     example, if you're after a single function from an eclass (say epatch from
95     eutils), you -don't- want the metadata modifications the eclass you're
96     inheriting might do. You want to treat the eclass you're pulling from as a
97     library, pure and simple.
99     A new directory named elib should be added to the top level of the tree to serve
100     as a repository of ebuild function libraries. Rather then relying on using the
101     source command, an 'elib' function should be added to portage to import that
102     libraries functionality. The reason for the indirection via the function is
103     mostly related to portage internals, but it does serve as an abstraction such
104 g2boojum 1.2 that (for example) zsh compatibility hacks could be hidden in the elib function.
105 g2boojum 1.1
106     Elib's will be collections of bash functions- they're not allowed to do anything
107     in the global scope aside from function definition, and any -minimal-
108     initialization of the library that is absolutely needed. Additionally, they
109 g2boojum 1.2 cannot modify any ebuild template functions- src_compile, src_unpack. Since they are
110 g2boojum 1.1 required to not modify the metadata keys, nor in any way affect the ebuild aside
111     from providing functionality, they can be conditionally pulled in. They also
112     are allowed to pull in other elibs, but strictly just elibs- no eclasses, just
113 vapier 1.4 other elibs. A real world example would be the eutils eclass.
114 g2boojum 1.1
115     Portage, since the elib's don't modify metadata, isn't required to track elibs
116     as it tracks eclasses. Thus a change in an elib doesn't result in half the tree
117     forced to be regenerated/marked stale when changed (this is more of an infra
118     benefit, although regen's that take too long due to eclass changes have been
119 g2boojum 1.2 known to cause rsync issues due to missing timestamps).
121     Elibs will not be available in the global scope of an eclass, or ebuild- nor during the
122 vapier 1.4 depends phase (basically a phase that sources the ebuild, to get its metadata). Elib
123 g2boojum 1.2 calls in the global scope will be tracked, but the elib will not be loaded till just before
124 vapier 1.4 the setup phase (pkg_setup). There are two reasons for this- first, it ensures elibs are
125 g2boojum 1.2 completely incapable of modifying metadata. There is no room for confusion, late loading
126     of elibs gives you the functionality for all phases, except for depends- depends being the
127     only phase that is capable of specifying metadata. Second, as an added bonus, late
128     loading reduces the amount of bash sourced for a regen- faster regens. This however is minor,
129     and is an ancillary benefit of the first reason.
131 g2boojum 1.3 There are a few further restrictions with elibs--mainly, elibs to load can only be specified
132 g2boojum 1.2 in either global scope, or in the setup, unpack, compile, test, and install phases. You can
133 g2boojum 1.3 not load elibs in prerm, postrm, preinst, and postinst. The reason being, for \*rm phases,
134 g2boojum 1.2 installed pkgs will have to look to the tree for the elib, which allows for api drift to cause
135 g2boojum 1.3 breakage. For \*inst phases, same thing, except the culprit is binpkgs.
136 g2boojum 1.2
137 g2boojum 1.3 There is a final restriction--elibs cannot change their exported api dependent on the api
138     (as some eclass do for example). The reason mainly being that elibs are loaded once--not
139 g2boojum 1.2 multiple times, as eclasses are.
141     To clarify, for example this is invalid.
142     ::
143 g2boojum 1.3
144 g2boojum 1.2 if [[ -n ${SOME_VAR} ]]; then
145     func x() { echo "I'm accessible only via tweaking some var";}
146     else
147     func x() { echo "this is invalid, do not do it."; }
148     fi
150 g2boojum 1.1
151     Regarding maintainability of elibs, it should be a less of a load then old
152     eclasses. One of the major issues with old eclasses is that their functions are
153 vapier 1.4 quite incestuous- they're bound tightly to the env they're defined in. This
154 g2boojum 1.1 makes eclass functions a bit fragile- the restrictions on what can, and cannot
155     be done in elibs will address this, making functionality less fragile (thus a
156     bit more maintainable).
158 g2boojum 1.2 There is no need for backwards compatibility with elibs- they just must work
159 g2boojum 1.1 against the current tree. Thus elibs can be removed when the tree no longer
160     needs them. The reasons for this are explained below.
162     Structuring of the elibs directory will be exactly the same as that of the new
163     eclass directory (detailed below), sans a different extension.
165 g2boojum 1.2 As to why their are so many restrictions, the answer is simple- the definition of
166     what elibs are, what they are capable of, and how to use them is nailed down as much as
167     possible to avoid *any* ambiguity related to them. The intention is to make it clear,
168     such that no misconceptions occur, resulting in bugs.
169 g2boojum 1.1
170     The reduced role of Eclasses, and a clarification of existing Eclass requirements
171     ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
173     Since elibs are now intended on holding common bash functionality, the focus of
174 vapier 1.4 eclasses should be in defining an appropriate template for ebuilds. For example,
175 g2boojum 1.1 defining common DEPENDS, RDEPENDS, src_compile functions, src_unpack, etc.
176     Additionally, eclasses should pull in any elibs they need for functionality.
178     Eclass functionality that isn't directly related to the metadata, or src_* and
179     pkg_* funcs should be shifted into elibs to allow for maximal code reuse. This
180     however isn't a hard requirement, merely a strongly worded suggestion.
182     Previously, it was 'strongly' suggested by developers to avoid having any code
183     executed in the global scope that wasn't required. This suggestion is now a
184     requirement. Execute only what must be executed in the global scope. Any code
185     executed in the global scope that is related to configuring/building the package
186     must be placed in pkg_setup. Metadata keys (already a rule, but now stated as
187     an absolute requirement to clarify it) *must* be constant. The results of
188     metadata keys exported from an ebuild on system A, must be *exactly* the same as
189     the keys exported on system B.
191     If an eclass (or ebuild for that matter) violates this constant requirement, it
192     leads to portage doing the wrong thing for rsync users- for example, wrong deps
193 g2boojum 1.2 pulled in, leading to compilation failure, or dud deps.
194 g2boojum 1.1
195     If the existing metadata isn't flexible enough for what is required for a
196     package, the parsing of the metadata is changed to address that. Cases where
197     the constant requirement is violated are known, and a select few are allowed-
198     these are exceptions to the rule that are required due to inadequacies in
199 g2boojum 1.2 portage. Any case where it's determined the constant requirement may need to be
200     violated the dev must make it aware to the majority of devs, along with the portage
201     devs. This should be done prior to committing.
202 g2boojum 1.1
203     It's quite likely there is a way to allow what you're attempting- if you just go
204 g2boojum 1.2 and do it, the rsync users (our user base) suffer the results of compilation
205 g2boojum 1.1 failures and unneeded deps being pulled in.
207     After that stern reminder, back to new eclasses. Defining INHERITED and ECLASS
208     within the eclass is no longer required. Portage already handles those vars if
209     they aren't defined.
211 g2boojum 1.2 As with elibs, it's no longer required that backwards compatibility be maintained
212     indefinitely- compatibility must be maintained against the current tree, but
213 g2boojum 1.1 just that. As such new eclasses (the true distinction of new vs old is
214     elaborated in the next section) can be removed from the tree once they're no
215     longer in use.
218 g2boojum 1.2 The end of backwards compatibility...
219 g2boojum 1.1 -------------------------------------
221 vapier 1.4 With current eclasses, once the eclass is in use, its api can no longer be
222 g2boojum 1.1 changed, nor can the eclass ever be removed from the tree. This is why we still
223     have *ancient* eclasses that are completely unused sitting in the tree, for
224 vapier 1.4 example inherit.eclass. The reason for this, not surprisingly, is a portage
225     deficiency: on unmerging an installed ebuild, portage used the eclass from the
226 g2boojum 1.1 current tree.
228     For a real world example of this, if you merged a glibc 2 years back, whatever
229     eclasses it used must still be compatible, or you may not be able to unmerge the
230     older glibc version during an upgrade to a newer version. So either the glibc
231     maintainer is left with the option of leaving people using ancient versions out
232 g2boojum 1.2 in the rain, or maintaining an ever increasing load of backwards compatibility
233 g2boojum 1.1 cruft in any used eclasses.
235     Binpkgs suffer a similar fate. Merging of a binpkg pulls needed eclasses from
236     the tree, so you may not be able to even merge a binpkg if the eclasses api has
237     changed. If the eclass was removed, you can't even merge the binpkg, period.
239     The next major release of portage will address this- the environment that the
240     ebuild was built in already contains the eclasses functions, as such the env can
241     be re-used rather then relying on the eclass. In other words, binpkgs and
242     installed ebuilds will no longer go and pull needed eclasses from the tree,
243     they'll use the 'saved' version of the eclass they were built/merged with.
245 g2boojum 1.2 So the backwards compatibility requirement for users of the next major portage
246 g2boojum 1.1 version (and beyond) isn't required. All the cruft can be dropped.
248 g2boojum 1.2 The problem is that there will be users using older versions of portage that don't
249     support this functionality- these older installations *cannot* use the
250     new eclasses, due to the fact that their portage version is incapable of
251     properly relying on the env- in other words, the varying api of the eclass will
252     result in user-visible failures during unmerging.
254     So we're able to do a clean break of all old eclasses, and api cruft, but we need
255     a means to basically disallow access to the new eclasses for all portage versions
256     incapable of properly handling the env requirements.
258     Unfortunately, we cannot just rely on a different grouping/naming convention within
259     the old eclass directory. The new eclasses must be inaccessible, and portage throws
260     a snag into this- the existing inherit function that is used to handle existing
261     eclasses. Basically, whatever it's passed (inherit kernel or inherit
262 g2boojum 1.1 kernel/kernel) it will pull in (kernel.eclass, and kernel/kernel.eclass
263     respectively). So even if the new eclasses were implemented within a
264     subdirectory of the eclass dir in the tree, all current portage versions would
265     still be able to access them.
267     In other words, these new eclasses would in effect, be old eclasses since older
268     portage versions could still access them.
271 vapier 1.4 Tree restructuring
272     ------------------
273 g2boojum 1.1
274     There are only two way to block the existing (as of this writing) inherit
275     functionality from accessing the new eclasses- either change the extension of
276 g2boojum 1.2 eclasses to something other then 'eclass', or to have them stored in a separate
277 g2boojum 1.1 subdirectory of the tree then eclass.
279     The latter is preferable, and the proposed solution. Reasons are- the current
280     eclass directory is already overgrown. Structuring of the new eclass dir
281     (clarified below) will allow for easier signing, ChangeLogs, and grouping of
282     eclasses. New eclasses allow for something akin to a clean break and have new
283     capabilities/requirements, thus it's advisable to start with a clean directory,
284     devoid of all cruft from the old eclass implementation.
286     If it's unclear as to why the old inherit function *cannot* access the new
287     eclasses, please reread the previous section. It's unfortunately a requirement
288     to take advantage of all that the next major portage release will allow.
290 g2boojum 1.2 The proposed directory structure is ${PORTDIR}/include/{eclass,elib}.
291 g2boojum 1.1 Something like ${PORTDIR}/new-eclass, or ${PORTDIR}/eclass-ng could be used
292 vapier 1.4 (although many would cringe at the -ng), but such a name is unwise. Consider the
293 g2boojum 1.1 possibility (likely a fact) that new eclasses someday may be found lacking, and
294 vapier 1.4 refined further (version three as it were). Or perhaps we want to add yet more
295 g2boojum 1.1 functionality with direct relation to sourcing new files, and we would then need
296     to further populate ${PORTDIR}.
298     The new-eclass directory will be (at least) 2 levels deep- for example:
300     ::
301     kernel/
302     kernel/linux-info.eclass
303     kernel/linux-mod.eclass
304     kernel/kernel-2.6.eclass
305     kernel/kernel-2.4.eclass
306     kernel/ChangeLog
307     kernel/Manifest
309     No eclasses will be allowed in the base directory- grouping of new eclasses will
310     be required to help keep things tidy, and for the following reasons. Grouping
311     of eclasses allows for the addition of ChangeLogs that are specific to that
312     group of eclasses, grouping of files/patches as needed, and allows for
313 g2boojum 1.2 saner/easier signing of eclasses- you can just stick a signed
314 g2boojum 1.1 Manifest file w/in that grouping, thus providing the information portage needs
315     to ensure no files are missing, and that nothing has been tainted.
317     The elib directory will be structured in the same way, for the same reasons.
319     Repoman will have to be extended to work within new eclass and elib groups, and
320 vapier 1.4 to handle signing and committing. This is intentional, and a good thing. This
321 g2boojum 1.1 gives repoman the possibility of doing sanity checks on elibs/new eclasses.
322 g2boojum 1.2
323     Note these checks will not prevent developers from doing dumb things with eclass-
324     these checks would only be capable of doing basic sanity checks, such as syntax checks.
325     There is no way to prevent people from doing dumb things (exempting perhaps repeated
326     applications of a cattle prod)- these are strictly automatic checks, akin to repoman's
327     dependency checks.
328 g2boojum 1.1
330 g2boojum 1.2 The start of a different phase of backwards compatibility
331 g2boojum 1.1 ---------------------------------------------------------
333 g2boojum 1.2 As clarified above, new eclasses will exist in a separate directory that will be
334 g2boojum 1.1 intentionally inaccessible to the inherit function. As such, users of older
335     portage versions *will* have to upgrade to merge any ebuild that uses elibs/new
336 vapier 1.4 eclasses. A depend on the next major portage version would transparently handle
337 g2boojum 1.2 this for rsync users.
338 g2boojum 1.1
339     There still is the issue of users who haven't upgraded to the required portage
340 vapier 1.4 version. This is a minor concern frankly- portage releases include new
341 g2boojum 1.1 functionality, and bug fixes. If they won't upgrade, it's assumed they have
342     their reasons and are big boys, thus able to handle the complications themselves.
344     The real issue is broken envs, whether in binpkgs, or for installed packages.
345     Two options exist- either the old eclasses are left in the tree indefinitely, or
346     they're left for N months, then shifted out of the tree, and into a tarball that
347     can be merged.
349     Shifting them out of the tree is advisable for several reasons- less cruft in
350     the tree, but more importantly the fact that they are not signed (thus an angle
351     for attack). Note that the proposed method of eclass signing doesn't even try
352     to address them. Frankly, it's not worth the effort supporting two variations
353     of eclass signing, when the old eclass setup isn't designed to allow for easy
354     signing.
356     If this approach is taken, then either the old eclasses would have to be merged
357     to an overlay directory's eclass directory (ugly), or to a safe location that
358     portage's inherit function knows to look for (less ugly).
360     For users who do not upgrade within the window of N months while the old
361     eclasses are in the tree, as stated, it's assumed they know what they are doing.
362     If they specifically block the new portage version, as the ebuilds in the tree
363     migrate to the new eclasses, they will have less and less ebuilds available to
364 g2boojum 1.2 them. If they tried injecting the new portage version (lying to portage,
365     essentially), portage would bail since it cannot find the new eclass.
366     For ebuilds that use the new eclasses, there really isn't any way to sidestep
367     the portage version requirement- same as it has been for other portage features.
368 g2boojum 1.1
369     What is a bit more annoying is that once the old eclasses are out of the tree,
370 g2boojum 1.2 if a user has not upgraded to a portage version supporting env processing, they
371     will lose the ability to unmerge any installed ebuild that used an old
372     eclass. Same cause, different symptom being they will lose the ability to merge
373     any tbz2 that uses old eclasses also.
375     There is one additional case that is a rarity, but should be noted- if a user
376     has suffered significant corruption of their installed package database (vdb). This is
377     ignoring the question of whether the vdb is even usable at this point, but the possibility
378     exists for the saved envs to be non usable due to either A) missing, or B) corrupted.
379     In such a case, even with the new portage capabilities, they would need
380     the old eclass compat ebuild.
382     Note for this to happen requires either rather... unwise uses of root, or significant
383     fs corruption. Regardless of the cause, it's quite likely for this to even become an
384     issue, the system's vdb is completely unusable. It's a moot issue at that point.
385     If you lose your vdb, or it gets seriously damaged, it's akin to lobotomizing portage-
386 vapier 1.4 it doesn't know what's installed, it doesn't know of its own files, and in general,
387 g2boojum 1.2 a rebuilding of the system is about the only sane course of action. The missing env is
388     truly the least of the users concern in such a case.
390     Continuing with the more likely scenario, users unwilling to upgrade portage will
391     *not* be left out in the rain. Merging the old eclass compat ebuild will provide
392 vapier 1.4 the missing eclasses, thus providing that lost functionality.
393 g2boojum 1.1
394 g2boojum 1.2 Note the intention isn't to force them to upgrade, hence the ability to restore the
395 vapier 1.4 lost functionality. The intention is to clean up the existing mess, and allow us
396     to move forward. The saying "you've got to break a few eggs to make an omelet"
397 g2boojum 1.1 is akin, exempting the fact we're providing a way to make the eggs whole again
398     (the king's men would've loved such an option).
401     Migrating to the new setup
402     --------------------------
404     As has been done in the past whenever a change in the tree results in ebuilds
405     requiring a specific version of portage, as ebuilds migrate to the new eclasses,
406     they should depend on a version of portage that supports it. From the users
407     viewpoint, this transparently handles the migration.
409     This isn't so transparent for devs or a particular infrastructure server however.
410     Devs, due to them using cvs for their tree, lack the pregenerated cache rsync
411     users have. Devs will have to be early adopters of the new portage. Older
412     portage versions won't be able to access the new eclasses, thus the local cache
413     generation for that ebuild will fail, ergo the depends on a newer portage
414     version won't transparently handle it for them.
416     Additionally, prior to any ebuilds in the tree using the new eclasses, the
417     infrastructure server that generates the cache for rsync users will have to
418     either be upgraded to a version of portage supporting new eclasses, or patched.
419     The former being much more preferable then the latter for the portage devs.
421     Beyond that, an appropriate window for old eclasses to exist in the tree must be
422 vapier 1.4 determined, and prior to that window passing, an ebuild must be added to the tree
423 g2boojum 1.1 so users can get the old eclasses if needed.
425     For eclass devs to migrate from old to new, it is possible for them to just
426     transfer the old eclass into an appropriate grouping in the new eclass directory,
427 vapier 1.4 although it's advisable they cleanse all cruft out of the eclass. You can
428 g2boojum 1.1 migrate ebuilds gradually over to the new eclass, and don't have to worry about
429     having to support ebuilds from X years back.
431     Essentially, you have a chance to nail the design perfectly/cleanly, and have a
432     window in which to redesign it. It's humbly suggested eclass devs take
433     advantage of it. :)
436     Backwards Compatibility
437     =======================
439 g2boojum 1.2 All backwards compatibility issues are addressed in line, but a recap is offered-
440     it's suggested that if the a particular compatibility issue is
441 g2boojum 1.1 questioned/worried over, the reader read the relevant section. There should be
442     a more in depth discussion of the issue, along with a more extensive explanation
443 g2boojum 1.2 of the potential solutions, and reasons for the chosen solution.
444 g2boojum 1.1
445     To recap:
446     ::
447 g2boojum 1.3
448 g2boojum 1.1 New eclasses and elib functionality will be tied to a specific portage
449 vapier 1.4 version. A DEPENDs on said portage version should address this for rsync
450 g2boojum 1.1 users who refuse to upgrade to a portage version that supports the new
451     eclasses/elibs and will gradually be unable to merge ebuilds that use said
452     functionality. It is their choice to upgrade, as such, the gradual
453     'thinning' of available ebuilds should they block the portage upgrade is
454     their responsibility.
456     Old eclasses at some point in the future should be removed from the tree,
457 vapier 1.4 and released in a tarball/ebuild. This will cause installed ebuilds that
458 g2boojum 1.2 rely on the old eclass to be unable to unmerge, with the same applying for
459     merging of binpkgs dependent on the following paragraph.
460 g2boojum 1.1
461 g2boojum 1.2 The old eclass-compat is only required for users who do not upgrade their
462     portage installation, and one further exemption- if the user has somehow
463     corrupted/destroyed their installed pkgs database (/var/db/pkg currently),
464     in the process, they've lost their saved environments. The eclass-compat
465     ebuild would be required for ebuilds that required older eclasses in such a
466     case. Note, this case is rare also- as clarified above, it's mentioned
467     strictly to be complete, it's not much of a real world scenario as elaborated
468     above.
469 g2boojum 1.1
471     Copyright
472     =========
474     This document has been placed in the public domain.

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