[erlang-questions] Use of uuidgen with a mnesia application

Paul Fisher <>
Fri Jun 6 16:58:52 CEST 2008

On Fri, 2008-06-06 at 16:43 +0200, Alexander Lamb wrote:
> make_guuid() ->
> 	First = os:cmd("uuidgen -t"),
> 	case verify_guuid(First) of
> 		true	-> Result = First;
> 		false	-> Second = os:cmd("uuidgen"),
> 				   case verify_guuid(Second) of
> 						true  -> Result = Second;
> 						false -> Result = "error",
> 								 throw({uuidgen_error,Second})
> 				   end
> 	end,
> 	erlang:list_to_binary(Result).
> Now, the reason I have this cascade of case is because on Linux (our  
> Ubuntu servers) it recognizes the -t option to generate the uuid and  
> on MacOSX (our dev machines) it does not.
> Call me crazy, but I never feel confortable about using a totally  
> random uuid to identity medical records that might be copied from  
> system to system, exported, etc... even if the probability of  
> collision is lower than that of a large asteroid hitting earth!
> What is your strategy for this (maybe this is a question to ask the  
> couchdb developers, since they use guuids to identify the documents)?

We use uuid values to manage jobs on our cluster processing
infrastructure and have a very simple driver that calls the uuid library
directly and sends the tuple back to the caller (e.g. {uuid,
<<156,21,52,30,51,213,17,221,179,34,0,28,37,116,215,248>>}).  The
os:cmd() trick is just a quick and dirty solution because of the
differences in systems.

Short of keeping track of unique ids in a database read/write from all
cooperating systems (and potentially introducing a bottleneck or point
of failure in the processes), uuid values are the best approach.


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