[rb-general] Definition of "reproducible build"

John Gilmore gnu at toad.com
Thu Feb 14 21:25:24 CET 2019

> I like the idea, however what you are proposing is basically a new
> distro/fork, where you would remove all unreproducible packages, as
> every distro still has some unreproducible bits.

I suggest going the other way -- produce a distro that is "80%
reproducible" from its source code USB stick and its binary boot USB
stick.  You'd already have the global reproducibility structure and
scripts written and working, even before the last packages are
individually reproducible.  That global reproducibility tech would be
immediately adoptable by any distro.  The output of the reproduction
scripts would be a bootable binary that does boot and run!  It would
still have differences from the "release master" bootable binary, but
those differences would be irrelevant to the functioning of the binary,
and would be clearly visible with "diff -r".

(For one thing, this would cause the distros to actually produce a
"source code USB stick image".  Currently most of them don't.  They
instead require you to download thousands of separate source packages or
tarballs, and have no scripts readily visible for building those into a
bootable binary image.)

After accomplishing that, then the focus could go on the 20% (or 10% or
whatever) of packages that aren't yet reproducible.  And, people making
small distros could cut out such packages to make a 100% reproducible
distro, as Holger suggested.


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