Revlog parent deltas

The RevlogNG file format has a few known weaknesses, one of which is the lack of parent deltas. That is, new revisions are always delta'ed against the revision directly before it, when in many cases it makes much more sense to diff against the parent revision instead (e.g. when they're on very different branches). This makes some revlogs very space-inefficient, particularly in very branchy repositories or in repositories that have been converted from some other VCS. This can be seen from the reduction caused by "manual" reordering of the revlog, particularly for the manifest revlog in larger repositories.

1. Implementation

It would be nice to reduce at least some of the inefficiency by being able to delta against the parent revision in cases where that's an easy win. In RevlogNG, revisions can be constructed from taking the (specified) base revision and applying all revisions from that base revision, in a contiguous block, through to the requested revision. This means there's little seek time (seeks, being dependent on disk rotation speeds, are particularly expensive and resistent to Moore's law). Any algorithm for parent deltas should not expand the number of seeks too much.

2. Strategy

In current revlogs, the implicit rev to delta from is the former revision. If there are cases in which we don't want to do that anymore, we should either

Of course, we also need all the backwards compatibility trappings (e.g. requires, wire protocol stuff).

3. Literature