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Red Hat's Flathub/Flatpak Overcomplicates GNU/Linux

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Red Hat
  • Not seeing the wood for the trees

    The way Flathub infrastructure works is not complicated for current trends, but there are enough moving parts to make debugging transient issues tricky.


    Flatpak downloads involve a lot of HTTP requests since each file in the application maps to a file in the ostree repository. Server-side Keep-Alive helps, but there is still a performance penalty over downloading a big single file. Flatpak can mitigate it by generating a static delta, either between two revisions or from scratch for new installations.

    It turned out to be a bug causing Flatpak to ignore from scratch deltas altogether. For example, installing LibreOffice involves making 5515 GET requests versus only 128 with static delta support working properly. Who could have known!

    In the beginning of April, multiple issues popped out around the same time. PagerDuty was poking me few times a day about high CPU usage on the server hosting Buildbot. Buildbot home page was not displaying recently finished builds at all. New commits, pull requests and manual build triggers were not causing new builds to start reliably. The number of 503 errors increased so much I saw it myself.

    Since our Buildbot was few releases behind, it looked like a good idea to start from here and hope it will fix all related problems. After the upgrade, I looked into the home page issue. The browser network monitor revealed a request timeout to the backend. The same request executed directly on the server also time outed. Everything worked fine in my local environment though. Few print calls later it became apparent that the frontend has been requesting all 17000 builds that were ever ran, which also explains high CPU usage. Adding limit=50 to the request brought it to 2-4s. Even though it needed less than a second on the server itself, it sounded reasonable enough to consider it fixed.

  • Innovating in the open: How Red Hat UXD is gathering user feedback

    Here on Red Hat’s User Experience Design (UXD) team, we believe in open conversations. As a team of designers working on the developer's perspective of the Red Hat OpenShift 4 web console, we relied on open conversation to gather our users’ information and feedback to help us provide innovative solutions to the OpenShift and developer community.

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today's howtos

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