Provided by: inn_1.7.2q-40build2_i386
dbminit, fetch, store, dbmclose - somewhat dbm-compatible database
dbzfresh, dbzagain, dbzfetch, dbzstore - database routines
dbzsync, dbzsize, dbzincore, dbzcancel, dbzdebug - database routines
dbzfresh(base, size, fieldsep, cmap, tagmask)
These functions provide an indexing system for rapid random access to a
text file (the base file). Subject to certain constraints, they are
call-compatible with dbm(3), although they also provide some
extensions. (Note that they are not file-compatible with dbm or any
In principle, dbz stores key-value pairs, where both key and value are
arbitrary sequences of bytes, specified to the functions by values of
type datum, typedefed in the header file to be a structure with members
dptr (a value of type char * pointing to the bytes) and dsize (a value
of type int indicating how long the byte sequence is).
In practice, dbz is more restricted than dbm. A dbz database must be
an index into a base file, with the database values being fseek(3)
offsets into the base file. Each such value must ``point to'' a place
in the base file where the corresponding key sequence is found. A key
can be no longer than DBZMAXKEY (a constant defined in the header file)
bytes. No key can be an initial subsequence of another, which in most
applications requires that keys be either bracketed or terminated in
some way (see the discussion of the fieldsep parameter of dbzfresh,
below, for a fine point on terminators).
Dbminit opens a database, an index into the base file base, consisting
of files base.dir and base.pag which must already exist. (If the
database is new, they should be zero-length files.) Subsequent
accesses go to that database until dbmclose is called to close the
database. The base file need not exist at the time of the dbminit, but
it must exist before accesses are attempted.
Fetch searches the database for the specified key, returning the
corresponding value if any. Store stores the key-value pair in the
database. Store will fail unless the database files are writeable.
See below for a complication arising from case mapping.
Dbzfresh is a variant of dbminit for creating a new database with more
control over details. Unlike for dbminit, the database files need not
exist: they will be created if necessary, and truncated in any case.
Dbzfresh's size parameter specifies the size of the first hash table
within the database, in key-value pairs. Performance will be best if
size is a prime number and the number of key-value pairs stored in the
database does not exceed about 2/3 of size. (The dbzsize function,
given the expected number of key-value pairs, will suggest a database
size that meets these criteria.) Assuming that an fseek offset is 4
bytes, the .pag file will be 4*size bytes (the .dir file is tiny and
roughly constant in size) until the number of key-value pairs exceeds
about 80% of size. (Nothing awful will happen if the database grows
beyond 100% of size, but accesses will slow down somewhat and the .pag
file will grow somewhat.)
Dbzfresh's fieldsep parameter specifies the field separator in the base
file. If this is not NUL (0), and the last character of a key argument
is NUL, that NUL compares equal to either a NUL or a fieldsep in the
base file. This permits use of NUL to terminate key strings without
requiring that NULs appear in the base file. The fieldsep of a
database created with dbminit is the horizontal-tab character.
For use in news systems, various forms of case mapping (e.g. uppercase
to lowercase) in keys are available. The cmap parameter to dbzfresh is
a single character specifying which of several mapping algorithms to
use. Available algorithms are:
0 case-sensitive: no case mapping
B same as 0
NUL same as 0
= case-insensitive: uppercase and lowercase equivalent
b same as =
C RFC822 message-ID rules, case-sensitive before `@' (with
certain exceptions) and case-insensitive after
? whatever the local default is, normally C
Mapping algorithm 0 (no mapping) is faster than the others and is
overwhelmingly the correct choice for most applications. Unless
compatibility constraints interfere, it is more efficient to pre-map
the keys, storing mapped keys in the base file, than to have dbz do the
mapping on every search.
For historical reasons, fetch and store expect their key arguments to
be pre-mapped, but expect unmapped keys in the base file. Dbzfetch and
dbzstore do the same jobs but handle all case mapping internally, so
the customer need not worry about it.
Dbz stores only the database values in its files, relying on reference
to the base file to confirm a hit on a key. References to the base
file can be minimized, greatly speeding up searches, if a little bit of
information about the keys can be stored in the dbz files. This is
``free'' if there are some unused bits in an fseek offset, so that the
offset can be tagged with some information about the key. The tagmask
parameter of dbzfresh allows specifying the location of unused bits.
Tagmask should be a mask with one group of contiguous 1 bits. The bits
in the mask should be unused (0) in most offsets. The bit immediately
above the mask (the flag bit) should be unused (0) in all offsets;
(dbz)store will reject attempts to store a key-value pair in which the
value has the flag bit on. Apart from this restriction, tagging is
invisible to the user. As a special case, a tagmask of 1 means ``no
tagging'', for use with enormous base files or on systems with unusual
A size of 0 given to dbzfresh is synonymous with the local default; the
normal default is suitable for tables of 90-100,000 key-value pairs. A
cmap of 0 (NUL) is synonymous with the character 0, signifying no case
mapping (note that the character ? specifies the local default
mapping, normally C). A tagmask of 0 is synonymous with the local
default tag mask, normally 0x7f000000 (specifying the top bit in a
32-bit offset as the flag bit, and the next 7 bits as the mask, which
is suitable for base files up to circa 24MB). Calling dbminit(name)
with the database files empty is equivalent to calling
When databases are regenerated periodically, as in news, it is simplest
to pick the parameters for a new database based on the old one. This
also permits some memory of past sizes of the old database, so that a
new database size can be chosen to cover expected fluctuations.
Dbzagain is a variant of dbminit for creating a new database as a new
generation of an old database. The database files for oldbase must
exist. Dbzagain is equivalent to calling dbzfresh with the same field
separator, case mapping, and tag mask as the old database, and a size
equal to the result of applying dbzsize to the largest number of
entries in the oldbase database and its previous 10 generations.
When many accesses are being done by the same program, dbz is massively
faster if its first hash table is in memory. If an internal flag is 1,
an attempt is made to read the table in when the database is opened,
and dbmclose writes it out to disk again (if it was read successfully
and has been modified). Dbzincore sets the flag to newvalue (which
should be 0 or 1) and returns the previous value; this does not affect
the status of a database that has already been opened. The default is
0. The attempt to read the table in may fail due to memory shortage;
in this case dbz quietly falls back on its default behavior. Stores to
an in-memory database are not (in general) written out to the file
until dbmclose or dbzsync, so if robustness in the presence of crashes
or concurrent accesses is crucial, in-memory databases should probably
Dbzsync causes all buffers etc. to be flushed out to the files. It is
typically used as a precaution against crashes or concurrent accesses
when a dbz-using process will be running for a long time. It is a
somewhat expensive operation, especially for an in-memory database.
Dbzcancel cancels any pending writes from buffers. This is typically
useful only for in-core databases, since writes are otherwise done
immediately. Its main purpose is to let a child process, in the wake
of a fork, do a dbmclose without writing its parent's data to disk.
If dbz has been compiled with debugging facilities available (which
makes it bigger and a bit slower), dbzdebug alters the value (and
returns the previous value) of an internal flag which (when 1; default
is 0) causes verbose and cryptic debugging output on standard output.
Concurrent reading of databases is fairly safe, but there is no
(inter)locking, so concurrent updating is not.
The database files include a record of the byte order of the processor
creating the database, and accesses by processors with different byte
order will work, although they will be slightly slower. Byte order is
preserved by dbzagain. However, agreement on the size and internal
structure of an fseek offset is necessary, as is consensus on the
An open database occupies three stdio streams and their corresponding
file descriptors; a fourth is needed for an in-memory database. Memory
consumption is negligible (except for stdio buffers) except for in-
Functions returning int values return 0 for success, -1 for failure.
Functions returning datum values return a value with dptr set to NULL
for failure. Dbminit attempts to have errno set plausibly on return,
but otherwise this is not guaranteed. An errno of EDOM from dbminit
indicates that the database did not appear to be in dbz format.
The original dbz was written by Jon Zeeff (email@example.com-
arbor.mi.us). Later contributions by David Butler and Mark Moraes.
Extensive reworking, including this documentation, by Henry Spencer
(firstname.lastname@example.org) as part of the C News project. Hashing
function by Peter Honeyman.
The dptr members of returned datum values point to static storage which
is overwritten by later calls.
Unlike dbm, dbz will misbehave if an existing key-value pair is
`overwritten' by a new (dbz)store with the same key. The user is
responsible for avoiding this by using (dbz)fetch first to check for
duplicates; an internal optimization remembers the result of the first
search so there is minimal overhead in this.
Waiting until after dbminit to bring the base file into existence will
fail if chdir(2) has been used meanwhile.
The RFC822 case mapper implements only a first approximation to the
hideously-complex RFC822 case rules.
The prime finder in dbzsize is not particularly quick.
Should implement the dbm functions delete, firstkey, and nextkey.
On C implementations which trap integer overflow, dbz will refuse to
(dbz)store an fseek offset equal to the greatest representable positive
number, as this would cause overflow in the biased representation used.
Dbzagain perhaps ought to notice when many offsets in the old database
were too big for tagging, and shrink the tag mask to match.
Marking dbz's file descriptors close-on-exec would be a better approach
to the problem dbzcancel tries to address, but that's harder to do