This document describes libchop version 0.5.2.
Libchop is a set of utilities and library for data backup and distributed storage. Its main application is an encrypted backup program with support for versioning, selective sharing, and adaptive compression (see Invoking chop-backup).
The library itself was initially designed as the basis for a peer-to-peer, cooperative backup system. In such a system, data has to be sent by pieces, incrementally, and it may be scattered across several participating nodes. In addition, participating nodes may be untrusted, which puts data confidentiality, integrity, and availability at risk.
In a nutshell, libchop addresses these issues by providing mechanisms to:
Libchop decomposes these tasks with a fine grain, providing generic interfaces for each of the sub-tasks involved. It also comes with several implementations of each of these interfaces, allowing various storage strategies to be quickly experimented and compared. Implementations of these interfaces provide storage techniques such as content-based addressing and single-instance storage, content-hash keys, lossless compression, and similarity detection.
The following section gives an overview of the various interfaces and how they fit together. The next one gives an insight on typical use cases of the techniques and algorithms implemented by libchop.
The libchop library defines several fine-grain interfaces for file chopping and indexing. Objects implementing those interfaces may be composed together to form a data storage pipeline: the input of this pipeline are the raw contents of a file, and its output is a set of data blocks and an index handle1 that suffices to restore the file contents from those blocks.
The interfaces that allow components to interact altogether within this framework are the following:
The data flow in a stream indexing pipeline will look like this:
,-- block indexer --. | ^ | v | | stream ----> chopper --+-> stream indexer --+-> block store
It is worth noting that the block indexer has a central position because it both stores data block directly to the block store, and produces meta-data (individual block indices) which is fed back to the stream indexer in order to be eventually stored and indexed as if it were “normal” data.
When doing the opposite operation, i.e., restoring a data stream, the data flow looks like this:
,-------------------. | | v | block store ----> block fetcher ----> stream indexer ----> byte stream
Here, the stream “indexer” (actually a stream fetcher2) is controlled by the user (who provided the index handle of the stream to be retrieved). The stream indexer, in turns, controls the block fetcher in order to retrieve individual blocks from the underlying block store.
For each of these interfaces, libchop provides several implementations. Therefore, the user can conveniently choose the pipeline configuration that fits them best.
Additionally, it is sometimes useful to filter input streams or
input/output blocks, pretty much in the same way one uses “pipes”
under Unix. Libchop provides a number of filters that may be used for
this purpose, such as zlib/bz2 unzip/zip filters, or public-key
ciphering filters. The user can then create a filtered stream (via
chop_filtered_stream_open ()) or a filtered block store (via
chop_filtered_store_open ()) in order to make use of them
The storage pipeline can also be built and used from the command-line
chop-archiver tool (see Invoking chop-archiver).
File chopping and indexing techniques are used in a wide range of applications, including distributed storage, peer-to-peer file sharing, archival, backup, and revision control. Each of these classes of application has specific requirements, and each particular design in these classes has its own particularities.
Libchop, as a library or using its stand-alone utilities, can be used to build such applications, as demonstrated by chop-backup (see Invoking chop-backup). For instance, incremental encrypted data backup to an untrusted site can be achieved this way:
# Mount the target FTP directory (using a GNU/Hurd translator; on # GNU/Linux, `curlftpfs' and `sshfs' can be used similarly.) $ settrans -ca backup-site /hurd/ftpfs ftp.example.com:backup $ chop-backup backup-site /pix/holidays (() "tree_indexer:chk_block_fetcher:chk_index_handle:100:aes256,cbc,sha1...agfq2a/4a" ())
The long line displayed by
chop-backup is an index handle
or tuple that can eventually be passed to
--restore to restore the directory tree. Although the directory and
its contents are stored as a set of encrypted blocks, it can be
shared: knowing the index handle is necessary and sufficient to
retrieve the file. For more information, see Invoking chop-backup,
and Invoking chop-archiver.
Anonymous peer-to-peer file sharing systems like GNUnet and FreeNet both use the same particular configurations of the storage pipeline (see GNUnet). Roughly, they use a fixed-size stream chopper (e.g., in GNUnet 0.7, input files are chopped into 32 kB blocks) and some form of a CHK3 block indexer. GNUnet uses a tree stream indexer. In GNUnet, this whole encoding configuration is called ECRS. The Tahoe-LAFS distributed file system uses similar techniques, with the addition of erasure coding as the “chopper”, an option currently not available in libchop (see Tahoe-LAFS). Obviously, these projects use a completely distributed block store underneath.
The write-once read many (WORM) archival system Venti (used in Plan 9) uses a tree indexer and a content-based block indexer. Venti chops files into fixed-size blocks (see Venti).
Recent distributed version control systems (such as Monotone, Git, Mercurial, Bazaar, etc.) typically do not cut file into pieces. Therefore, they do not require a stream indexer since each input file yields one block. However, they index files using a content-based block indexer, which guarantees single-instance storage and integrity verification.
Rsync uses content-based indexing as well in order to reduce the amount of data to be transferred when synchronizing copies of a set of files across different machines over the network.
Libchop is modular, which makes it possible to combine various storage techniques such as those described above. For a detailed discussion of the trade-offs involved, Documents related to libchop.
Libchop comes with a number of utilities that exercise all its API.
The first one, chop-backup, is an encrypted backup application, with some bells and whistles.
The remaining tools offer a lower-level interface. Using them is actually a good way to become familiar with libchop's interfaces and their implementations.
The chop-archiver tool exposes all of libchop's storage
pipeline, which makes it the main entry point to libchop from the
command line. The
chop-block-server program implements a dumb
block server, which listens to remote procedure calls (RPCs) to
read and write data blocks.
chop-backup is an encrypted backup application4. It is designed to liberate users from the need to entrust their storage providers with data confidentiality, integrity, and availability. We believe this should make users less dependent on any storage providers, while making it easier to share storage capacity among distrustful people or organizations.
The tool has several salient features towards that goal:
To create a snapshot, type:
$ chop-backup --backup ~/bak ~/doc/important (() "tree_indexer:chk_block_fetcher:chk_index_handle:100:aes256,cbc,sha1...mdfagfq2a/4a" ()) $ chop-backup --backup /net/backup-machine ~/doc/important (() "tree_indexer:chk_block_fetcher:chk_index_handle:100:aes256,cbc,sha1...mdfagfq2a/4a" ())
The first command above creates a snapshot of the ~/doc/important directory and stores it under ~/bak, which we thereafter refer to as a store or block store. Upon completion it displays a tuple, which is the key that is necessary and sufficient to access the snapshot. The second command writes a new (possibly identical) snapshot to /net/backup-machine, which could be (say) an SSHFS mount point to some backup host. In both cases, only data not already available in the target store is actually written to it.
Since ~/doc/important was unchanged between the two runs, chop-backup returned the exact same tuple6. If the contents of that directory, or file meta-data such as permissions or modification time are changed, chop-backup returns a different tuple:
$ chop-backup --backup /mnt/usb-key ~/doc/important (() "tree_indexer:chk_block_fetcher:chk_index_handle:100:aes256,cbc,sha1...ssqijsady/4a" ())
Because the returned tuples are so important (and hard to type),
chop-backup caches a copy of them locally. They can be
accessed with the
$ chop-backup --recent /home/ludo/doc/important (() "tree_indexer...ssqijsady/4a" ()) /home/ludo/doc/important (() "tree_indexer...mdfagfq2a/4a" ())
However, the above command does not tell you in which store these backups are available. To check which of these recent backups a given store holds, try the --probe option:
$ chop-backup --probe /net/backup-machine /home/ludo/doc/important (() "tree_indexer...mdfagfq2a/4a" ()) $ chop-backup --probe /mnt/usb-key /home/ludo/doc/important (() "tree_indexer...ssqijsady/4a" ())
In this example, there are two stores, each of which holds one snapshot of the /home/ludo/doc/important directory.
To allow you to retrieve your data even if the host on which chop-backup is run crashes, it is recommended to backup the resulting tuple by other means—e.g., by sending it by mail.
The contents of a snapshot can be listed:
$ chop-backup --list ~/bak accessing most recent backup of `/home/ludo/doc/important' at `(() "tree_...gfq2a/4a" ())' d--------- 0 Jan 1 01:00 //previous-version// drwxr-xr-x 4096 Oct 6 22:18 chop -rw-r--r-- 32001 Oct 6 22:35 Makefile -rw-r--r-- 1451 Dec 8 10:23 Makefile.am -rw-r--r-- 59 Dec 8 10:23 .gitignore -rw-r--r-- 38221 Oct 6 22:20 Makefile.in
Since the command did not specify a tuple, chop-backup assumed that the user may be interested in the latest backup that was made and is available in ~/bak.
The special entry
//previous-version// above represents the
previous snapshot of that directory. The code
option would show its tuple, which could then be passed to
chop-backup --list to view specifically that version.
Complete directory trees can be restored:
$ chop-backup --restore ~/bak out
This command restores the latest snapshot and writes it to directory out, preserving file permissions and symbolic links.
For each action, chop-backup has a corresponding option, as seen above. The list of options is described below.
For this action, chop-backup must be passed at least two arguments: a file name for the backup store, and one or more directories to be backed up. This is the default action.
opts is a comma-separated list of long or one-letter options:
This is the default mode of operation.
chop-backup --checkreported some blocks as missing. It is much more CPU- and I/O-intensive than fast.
For this action, chop-backup must be passed at least the file name of the store, and optionally the tuple of a directory snapshot.
opts is a comma-separated list of long or one-letter options:
For instance, chop-backup -lr,h ~/bak lists the contents of
the most recent backup, recursively traversing sub-directories and
previous directory versions.
git whatchanged—i.e., one or several letters indicate how a file was affected:
Renamed files are identified by an arrow indicating their old and new name.
opts can be a comma-separated list of these suboptions:
For this action, chop-backup must be passed the store's file
name, and optionally a tuple.
MISSINGmeans that some of the data blocks that comprise the given file were not found in the store.
For this action, chop-backup must be passed the store's file name, and optional a tuple pointing to a directory snapshot.
--restore, all the file blocks are retrieved from the
store and passed through the storage pipeline, which deciphers them,
checks their integrity, and reassembles them.
For this action, chop-backup must be passed the store's file
name, an optional tuple, and the output directory name.
Under the hood, chop-backup uses content-hash keys—i.e., the
chk_block_indexer—to provide symmetric encryption and
single-instance storage (see Block Indexers & Fetchers). The rest
of the storage pipeline, notably choppers and compression filters, is
chosen as a function of the file type (text file, already-compressed
file, unknown file type).
chop-archiver tool is a storage client that exposes
most of the libchop programming interface at the command line. It
stores and retrieves individual files through the libchop storage
pipeline (see Overview). Unlike chop-backup, it does not
natively support directory traversal and versioning; instead, it offers
a lower-level interface. Users can choose each component of the
pipeline, thanks to libchop's introspection capabilities (see Object System).
The tool can be used in one of two modes:
chop-archiverstores the given file and returns the resulting index (see Block Indexers & Fetchers):
$ chop-archiver --archive README tree_indexer:hash_block_fetcher:hash_index_handle:64:sha1:6jmb3wrbzyqpsngxybt4r4rxtctdo4o2/26 $ chop-archiver --archive-fd=5 5< README tree_indexer:hash_block_fetcher:hash_index_handle:64:sha1:6jmb3wrbzyqpsngxybt4r4rxtctdo4o2/26
The above command stored the file README in a local block store
$HOME/.chop-archiver and printed an index that can
later be used to restore the file.
chop-archiverretrieves data pointed to by the given index:
$ chop-archiver --restore \ tree_indexer:hash_block_fetcher:hash_index_handle:64:sha1:6jmb3wrbzyqpsngxybt4r4rxtctdo4o2/26
This command retrieves and decodes the data pointed to by the given index and prints it on the standard output. The integrity of each data block is checked and an error is returned if one of the blocks has been tampered with.
The available options allow the customization of the storage process:
chop-archiver --block-indexer sha256 -a README
The command above instructs
chop-archiver to store the given file
with content-based addressing, using
sha256 hashes of individual
data blocks as their key.
tar cf - /secret/things | \ chop-archiver -i chk_block_indexer -I aes256,cbc,sha256,sha1 -A
This command uses content-hash keys (CHKs) to encrypt and name
individual data blocks. Data blocks are encrypted with the
aes256 symmetric cipher algorithm in cipher block chaining
mode; the encryption key is the
sha256 hash of the cleartext data
block. Finally, the key associated with the resulting (encrypted) data
block is the
sha1 hash of that block.
The following command specifies that the input data should be chopped into data blocks using an algorithm that chooses block boundaries so as to facilitate similarity detection, trying to obtain blocks of 512 bytes on average:
chop-archiver --chopper anchor_based_chopper --block-size 512 -a README
chop-archiver can be told to use a remote block store
rather than a local on-disk store. In that case requests to read and
write data blocks are sent as remote procedure calls (RPCs) over
chop-archiver --remote `chop-store-discover -D1 | cut -f2` -a README
The above command sends data to whichever remote block store is found on
the local network (assuming Avahi was available at compile time). An
implementation of a remote block store server is the
chop-block-server tool (see Invoking chop-block-server).
The long list of available options follows:
chop-archiveruses a block store under
-I. By default
chop-archiveruses an instance of the
hash_block_indexerclass, which provides content-based addressing without encryption.
unix) when communicating with the remote store specified with
--remote. Note that
tls/tcpis only available when GnuTLS was detected at configure time.
:followed by a port number.
By default, only blocks not already available in the block store are
written7. It makes
incremental storage very fast (e.g., when archiving a file that has
already been stored, or when storing a file that contains data similar
to what's already available in the store) and saves bandwidth when using
a remote block store.
chop-block-server tool is an ONC RPC server that serves
requests from the network to read and write data blocks. It it similar
in spirit to Plan 9's Venti (see Venti). By default, it
is completely oblivious to the encoding and naming scheme of incoming
data blocks: it doesn't know what block indexer was used to index them,
doesn't require content-based indexing, and of course doesn't know how
these data blocks relate to each other.
The server is invoked like this:
chop-block-server [options] local-block-store
This command starts a block store server listening to block store remote
procedure calls (RPCs) and applying them to the store from file
local-block-store (the type of store in this file is determined by
--store option; see below.) options can contain any
options from the following list:
chop-block-serverreturns an error if there's already a block associated with that key and that block differs from the new one.
lzo, for instance.
The chop-show-similarities tool estimates the similarity between two files. It is an application of anchor-based choppers (see anchor-based choppers). It is invoked like this:
chop-show-similarities [options] file1 file2
Note that ssdeep may be a more efficient tool for the job.
The chop-show-anchors shows the blocks yielded by the anchor-based chopper on a given input file (see anchor-based choppers). It is mostly meant as a demonstration or development tool to illustrate the behavior of the anchor-based chopper. It is run this way:
chop-show-anchors [options] file
This command runs an anchor-based chopper on file and shows the
contents of file, interspersed with
--- (three hyphens on a
line of their own) to show block boundaries.
This chapter is currently largely incomplete. Please refer to the documentation in the libchop header files.
Libchop comes with its own lightweight reflexive object system defined
<chop/objects.h> header file. Given that it is a
reflexive object system, type information is available at run-time.
With little overhead, this object system greatly improves the
flexibility of the library. The
chop-archiver command line tool
illustrates how type introspection can be leveraged to provide more
flexibility (see Invoking chop-archiver).
Libchop's object system can be used to provide binary compatibility with little overhead: the size of a given class' instances can be known at run-time, which allows for caller allocation. Callers can allocate objects of a given class as they prefer (e.g., on the stack) while remaining binary-compatible should the class layout change.8
Let's have a closer look at it.
At run-time, libchop classes are represented by
objects. The canonical naming scheme for classes is the following.
chbouib be a libchop class:
Libchop defines macros to declare and define classes while maintaining the naming scheme in a consistent way:
Declare a class named name, that is declare the type
chop_NAME_tand the global variable
chop_NAME_class. fields should be a list of fields (as in a
structdefinition). Note that libchop classes must always inherit (directly or not) the
Example:CHOP_DECLARE_RT_CLASS (chbouib, object, int x; float y;);
Once the class named name has been declared, this macro defines it as being a sub-class of the class named parent_name (this must be the same name as the one used in the declaration!), with constructor ctor and destructor dtor (both are optional), and with copy constructor copy and equality predicate equalp (both optional too). Finally, serial is a pointer to a serializer and dserial and pointer to a deserializer which may both be
<chop/objects.h> for details.
Constructors, in libchop, do not allocate memory to store objects:
they simple initialize objects. Therefore, memory must be
allocated to store a given an object before its constructor is
called. Run-time type information turns out to be helpful here: each
chop_class_t object contains information about the amount of
memory needed to store an instance of it.
Return the size, in bytes, of instances of class class.
Return a pointer to a memory area large enough to store an instance of class. This macro uses
allocato allocate storage on the stack (see see the GNU libc manual, for details).
Initialize object as an instance of class class, thus invoking the constructor of class and the one of its parent classes.
As a user, you will not usually call this function directly. Instead, you will call a particular constructor for class that can take additional arguments (e.g.,
chop_file_stream_open ()) and which will in turn call this function behind the scenes.
Destroy object, that is deallocate resources associated to it. Note that it does not deallocate the memory where object is stored.
It is important to note that all libchop objects must be destroyed
chop_object_destroy (), regardless of where they are
stored in memory.
Another way to instantiate an object is described in Cloning an Object.
Libchop's object system allows deep copies or cloning of objects. Classes, however, may choose to not implement this feature.
Clone the object pointed to by source into dest. As usual, dest must point to an (uninitialized) memory area large enough to hold an instance of source's class. If source's class does not implement cloning, then a default “shallow” copy is performed.
Note that, in any case, the copy constructors of the whole class hierarchy of source are invoked, starting from the higher one, just like for a regular instantiation (see Instantiating an Object).
Testing whether two objects are equal or not may be dependant on the implementation of their classes. Classes may implement an equality predicate that can be used two compare two instances9.
Return true (non-zero) if objects o1 and o2 are equal. If both objects are instances of the same class but that class does not define an equality predicate, they will only be considered equal if and only if o1
==o2, from a pointer arithmetic viewpoint.
Classes in libchop may implement a serialization and a deserialization methods—these methods may be specified at class definition time (see Declaring and Defining a Class). A serialization method basically converts an object into a portable representation of its state as a byte stream. The deserialization operation does the opposite.
chop_serial_method_t type defines two standard
Serialize object according to serialization method method into buffer. If no serializer exists for object's class,
CHOP_ERR_NOT_IMPLis returned. On success, zero is returned.
Initialize object, which is expected to be of type class, by deserializing buffer (of size bytes), according to method. On success, zero is returned and object is initialized. Otherwise, object is left in an undefined state. On success, bytes_read is set to the number of bytes that were read from buffer in order to deserialize object.
chop_stream_t type provides a simple interface to input byte
streams. Data is read on-demand using the
Read at most size bytes from stream into buffer. On failure, return an error code (non-zero). Otherwise, return in read the number of bytes actually read.
Return the preferred block size for reading stream. This gives callers, such as choppers, a hint, which may improve read performance.
Several classes implement
Classes that inherit from chop_stream_class.
These classes implement input streams backed by files, in-memory byte arrays, or by another stream passed through a filter (see Filters).
To create instances of these classes, use the constructors below.
Open file located at path and initialize stream as a file stream representing this file. stream has to point to a large-enough memory area to hold an object whose class is
Open a memory-backed stream, i.e., a stream whose input is read from base which is size byte-long. If free_func is not
NULL, it is called upon closing stream.
Initialize stream as a filtered stream that reads input data from backend through filter. bps defines the semantics of stream as a proxy of backend (whether backend should eventually be destroyed, etc.). Similarly, if owns_filter is true, then closing stream will destroy filter.
Choppers take a byte stream as input and return a series of blocks, which are subsets of the input stream. Their name comes from the fact that they “chop” the input stream into smaller blocks. They are defined in chop/choppers.h.
This meta-class—i.e., a class that inherits from chop_class_class—defines the
chop_chopper_generic_openmethod to instantiate choppers (see below.)
Initialize chopper as an instance of the class chopper class with input stream input. Return zero on success.
The implementation of class will choose default parameters for the specific chopper implementation (class-specific initialization methods are described below for fine-tuning of parameters). However, it should make sure that the average block size will be typical_block_size bytes. If typical_block_size is zero, then the implementation of class is free to choose any block size.
Return the input stream attached to chopper.
Read a block from chopper and store its contents into block. On success, block contains the exact contents of the block—i.e., the contents are "pushed"—, size contains the size of the block, and zero is returned. On end of stream,
*size is set to zero and
Return the “typical” size of the blocks produced by chopper. The meaning of “typical” actually depends on the chopper implementation. The value returned can be used as a hint for the initial size of block buffers.
Deallocate any resources associated with chopper. Once closed, chopper becomes unusable.
chop_chopper_t interface described above is implemented by
Classes that inherit from chop_chopper_class. All of these support the chop_chopper_generic_open method described above.
The first class implements the fixed-size chopper, a chopper that returns fixed-size blocks:
Initialize chopper as a fixed-size stream chopper. It will read data from input and cut it into blocks of block_size bytes. If pad_blocks is non-zero, the last block before
CHOP_STREAM_ENDwill be padded with zeros to be block_size long.
The second class implements anchor-based choppers. They return blocks of variable size whose boundaries are determined as a function of the input stream. The intent of this chopper is to help detect similarity among subsets of files; using single-instance storage, identical blocks are stored only once, which saves storage space.
Initialize chopper as an anchor-based stream chopper. It will read data from input and produce variably sized blocks.
Anchor-based choppers implement the algorithm described by Udi Manber10, which itself relies on Rabin fingerprints.
Basically, this algorithm allows anchors to be defined deterministically within a file such that identical blocks among similar files may be discovered. window_size is the size of the sliding window used to compute fingerprints. The paper recommends 50. Lower values may yield smaller blocks and better similarity detection.
The probability of finding a block boundary, and therefore the average size of blocks, largely depends on the value of magic_fpr_mask, the mask that will be applied to each fingerprint to determine whether it should yield a block boundary. The more bits are set in magic_fpr_mask, the less likely a fingerprint will match, and the larger the average block size will be.
An application of anchor-based choppers is chop-show-similarities (see Invoking chop-show-similarities). To see how block boundaries are determined, use the chop-show-anchors command (see Invoking chop-show-anchors).
Finally, the last class implements whole-stream choppers, which do not actually chop the input stream:
Initialize chopper as a whole-stream chopper which fetches data from input. chopper will simply return one single block containing the entire contents of input.
Consequently, this can be costly in terms of memory consumption. Also, chop_whole_stream_chopper_class does not honor at all the typical_block_size argument of
Block indexers take a chunk of data and a block store, add that block to the block store (possibly after processing it), and return an index handle that names this block. The dual of block indexers are block fetchers: given an index handle and a block store, they return the original chunk of data.
The type of a block indexer or fetcher, respectively.
The classes associated with a block indexer can be accessed with the following functions.
Return the block fetcher class associated with the class of indexer.
Return the index handle class associated with the class of indexer.
Initialize fetcher as a block fetcher corresponding to block indexer indexer. fetcher must point to a memory area large enough to contain an instance of the fetcher class associated to indexer's class.
Storing and retrieving a chunk of data is achieved using the methods below.
Using indexer, index the size-byte long data block pointed to by buffer to store. On success, return zero and initialize handle with an index handle sufficient to restore that block from store using the corresponding fetcher. Otherwise, return an error.
Using fetcher, fetch from store the data block whose index handle is handle. On success, fill in buffer with its contents and set size to its size in bytes.
Using fetcher, check whether the block pointed to by handle is available. On success, set
*exists to 1 if it's available in store, 0 if it's not available; otherwise return an error.
The block indexer, block fetcher, and index handle interfaces described above have several implementations.
Classes that inherit from chop_block_indexer_class.
Classes that inherit from chop_block_fetcher_class, and are the dual of the above.
The most important block indexer classes are
described below. Both use cryptographic hashes to determine a the key
under which a block is stored. Consequently, they provide the
single-instance storage property: a given chunk of data is always
stored only once in the block store.
Initialize block_indexer as a content-hash key (CHK) block indexer. block_indexer will cipher data blocks using cipher_handle and the block's hash yielded by key_hash_method (this is symmetric ciphering). Finally, block_indexer will compute the block's identifier using block_id_hash_method.
This technique is known as convergent encryption, and the index yielded is sometimes referred to as a content-hash key (in GNUnet/FreeNet terminology.) For more details, References.
Initialize block_indexer as a UUID block indexer. In other words, block_indexer will then yield DCE-compatible Universally Unique Identifiers for each block, using
libuuid(provided it was available at compilation time).
Therefore, block_indexer will not have the single-instance storage property, unlike the
Initialize indexer as an indexer that will simply return consecutive 32-bit integers as block IDs, starting from start.
Such indexers are mostly useful for benchmarking. They lack the single-instance storage property, and can actually overwrite previous blocks given that the returned block keys are not universally unique.
Libchop can be used in Scheme programs written for GNU Guile 2.0
(see GNU Guile). Each C
header file has a corresponding Guile module—e.g., the
indexers) module corresponds to
(chop) module is a composite module that aggregates all the
The example below shows how one would write a procedure that, given a file name, stores and encrypts the given file and returns an opaque index handle (see index handle).
(use-modules (chop)) (define (chop/encrypt file store) (let* ((input (file-stream-open file)) (i (tree-indexer-open)) (c (fixed-size-chopper-open input 777)) (bi (chk-block-indexer-open (make-cipher cipher-algorithm/aes256 cipher-mode/cbc) hash-method/sha256 hash-method/sha1))) (indexer-index-blocks i c bi store store)))
To store an encrypted copy of a file, this procedure can be invoked as follows:
(let ((s (file-based-block-store-open (lookup-class "gdbm_block_store") "encrypted-data.gdbm" (logior O_RDWR O_CREAT) #o644))) (chop/encrypt "secret-file.txt" s)) ⇒ #<chop chk_index_handle 346d1c0 (3475000)>
In this example, secret-file.txt is chopped into blocks of 777 bytes (see Stream Choppers). Those blocks are then encrypted and stored in encrypted-data.gdbm, a GNU dbm key/value store (see Intro).
The returned index handle can be serialized as a string and stashed, for later reuse:
(serialize-object/ascii (chop/encrypt "secret-file.txt" s)) ⇒ "ci4r7xyktacal3rqrf6wpk5kitripgrv3cxvllarepzzsus5mmuq====,6v4nej5hjmtkvcinlawcf24wnq4zplm7/64a"
Getting back an index handle from such a string is done this way:
(let ((str "ci4r7xyktacal3rqrf6wpk5kitripgrv3cxvllarepzzsus5mmuq====,6v4nej5hjmtkvcinlawcf24wnq4zplm7/64a")) (deserialize-object/ascii (lookup-class "chk_block_indexer") str)) ⇒ #<chop chk_index_handle 284ee40 (2854000)>
Finally, the procedure below returns a Scheme port from the given index handle and block store:
(define (decrypt/assemble index store) (let* ((i (tree-indexer-open)) (bi (chk-block-indexer-open (make-cipher cipher-algorithm/aes256 cipher-mode/cbc) hash-method/sha256 hash-method/sha1)) (bf (block-indexer-fetcher bi))) (stream->port (indexer-fetch-stream i index bf store store))))
The data pointed to by index in store can be obtained by reading from the returned port.
The API reference is not written yet, but all the Scheme procedures come with a docstring, and can be easily browsed using Geiser (see Documentation helpers).
Free software related to libchop:
Documents related to libchop:
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chop-archiver: Invoking chop-archiver
chop-block-server: Invoking chop-block-server
chop_anchor_based_chopper_init: Stream Choppers
chop_block_fetcher_exists: Block Indexers & Fetchers
chop_block_fetcher_fetch: Block Indexers & Fetchers
chop_block_indexer_fetcher_class: Block Indexers & Fetchers
chop_block_indexer_index: Block Indexers & Fetchers
chop_block_indexer_index_handle_class: Block Indexers & Fetchers
chop_block_indexer_initialize_fetcher: Block Indexers & Fetchers
chop_chk_block_indexer_open: Block Indexers & Fetchers
chop_chopper_close: Stream Choppers
chop_chopper_generic_open: Stream Choppers
chop_chopper_read_block: Stream Choppers
chop_chopper_stream: Stream Choppers
chop_chopper_typical_block_size: Stream Choppers
chop_class_alloca_instance: Instantiating an Object
chop_class_instance_size: Instantiating an Object
CHOP_DECLARE_RT_CLASS: Declaring and Defining a Class
CHOP_DEFINE_RT_CLASS: Declaring and Defining a Class
chop_file_stream_open: Input Streams
chop_filtered_stream_open: Input Streams
chop_fixed_size_chopper_init: Stream Choppers
chop_hash_block_indexer_open: Block Indexers & Fetchers
chop_integer_block_indexer_open: Block Indexers & Fetchers
chop_mem_stream_open: Input Streams
chop_object_copy: Cloning an Object
chop_object_deserialize: Serializing and Deserializing an Object
chop_object_destroy: Instantiating an Object
chop_object_equal: Testing Objects for Equality
chop_object_initialize: Instantiating an Object
chop_object_serialize: Serializing and Deserializing an Object
chop_stream_preferred_block_size: Input Streams
chop_stream_read: Input Streams
chop_uuid_block_indexer_open: Block Indexers & Fetchers
chop_whole_stream_chopper_open: Stream Choppers
 In this document the terms abstract index and index handle are used interchangeably to describe indices are returned by a block indexer.
 For design reasons, there is actually one interface (class) for both the stream indexer and the stream fetcher, while the block indexer and block fetcher interfaces are represented by two separate classes. Conceptually, indexing and fetching are really two distinct functions in both cases. They are, however, dual functions, and may share code.
 This utility is installed only when GNU Guile 2.0 is available.
 Tuples can be thought of as capabilities—i.e., “unforgeable”, opaque bit strings that designate content and the right to access it. Tuples are “protected by sparsity”, whereas capabilities in operating systems or programming languages are typically “kernel-protected”.
 In other words, chop-backup --backup can be said to be referentially transparent, a notion functional programmers are familiar with. It also looks very scientific to present it this way, doesn't it?
 To determine whether a block is available,
chop-archiver checks whether something is stored under
the block's name without checking whether the contents are the same. It
makes sense for content-based addressing, e.g., with
 Conversely, the Glib family of libraries achieves binary compatibility at the cost of removing the possibility for caller memory allocation: constructors do not only initialize an object, they also allocate its storage on the heap. The situation in C++ is often similar, but C++ has the advantage of having compiler support.
 Udi Manber, “Finding similar files in a large file system”, USENIX Winter Conference, 1994.