[rb-general] [jvm] How to share rebuilder attestations

Daniel Shahaf danielsh at apache.org
Sun Jan 6 20:10:50 CET 2019

From: Daniel Shahaf <d.s at daniel.shahaf.name>
To: General discussions about reproducible builds <rb-general at lists.reproducible-builds.org>
Subject: Re: [rb-general] [jvm] How to share rebuilder attestations
In-Reply-To: <4276759.a8cb7drmQk at giga>

Hervé Boutemy wrote on Sat, Jan 05, 2019 at 08:00:49 +0100:
> Le jeudi 3 janvier 2019, 11:39:08 CET Daniel Shahaf a écrit :
> > Hervé Boutemy wrote on Thu, Jan 03, 2019 at 09:21:49 +0100:
> > > Le mercredi 2 janvier 2019, 13:11:43 CET Arnout Engelen a écrit :
> > > > Having each successful rebuilder append his signature to a shared .asc
> > > > would indeed be elegant
> > > 
> > > +1
> > > 
> > > > when we can expect the .buildinfo for the
> > > > original build to always be identical to the .buildinfo of any
> > > > rebuilder.
> > > 
> > > yes, what to sign? buildinfo?
> > > if buildinfo was a pure specification of the instructions to rebuild and
> > > only that, signing them would be ok.
> > > But buildinfo is currently also a recording of an environment used to
> > > build = something that I don't expect to be reproducible in the JVM
> > > world: we're not in a Linux distribution case, I'd like to keep some
> > > flexibility to rebuild
> > When multiple .buildinfo files attest the same binary artifact, there is
> > no need for them to be identical; each .buildinfo file *individually*
> > needs to be cryptographically signed and cryptographically linked to the
> > artifact it attests, but it's perfectly reasonable to have one binary
> > artifact backed by six different .buildinfo's and six different
> > .buildinfo.asc signatures.
> do you expect multiple signatures on 1 buildinfo file? ie multiple rebuilders 
> attesting a shared buildinfo file
> or do you just expect 1 buildinfo file per rebuild?

The latter.

More precisely: the latter, but if someone wanted to take a buildinfo
file, remove from it all information that rebuilders don't need, and
sign the result, then _that_ minimized version might have multiple

> > 
> > Furthermore, there are benefits to that, too: it can help trace
> > reproducibility bugs.  For example, suppose six buildinfo files were
> > generated in 2018, and then a seventh buildinfo appears that was
> > generated in 2019 and has a different checksum; that could indicate
> > a missing use of SOURCE_DATE_EPOCH somewhere in the build process.
> in such a scenario, instead of sharing a buildinfo in the rebuilders infra, 
> then a requirement for a process to differentiate the buildinfo files that 
> proove the rebuild is ok vs the buildinfo files that prove that there is a 
> reproducibility issue, I'd prefer an issue in a bugtracker

I think there's a miscommunication somewhere.  Once someone discovers
that a build process needs to use SOURCE_DATE_EPOCH in more places, a
bug would be filed about that, of course; but for that to happen,
someone needs to discover the problem in the first place.  If buildinfo
files _don't_ indicate the real-world time in addition to the
SOURCE_DATE_EPOCH value, the problem would be harder to discover in the
first place, so no bug would ever be filed.

So, no, buildinfo files aren't a replacement to bug trackers.  However,
buildinfo files can be designed in such a way that makes some types of
bugs easier to discover (and file in trackers).  Makes sense?

> > 
> > That's from the end user's point of view.  From the packager's/rebuilder's
> > point of view, the fact that the .buildinfo contains information not
> > necessary for reproducing the file is not, by itself, a reason not to
> > sign it.  For example, if I generate an email message and it contains a
> > non-standard "X-Composed-On: Debian" header, I would go ahead and sign it
> > anyway, since I don't disavow the fact that I run Debian.  Users will
> > verify the rfc822 message successfully and simply ignore the X-* header
> > they don't know/care about (as rfc822 says they may).
> > 
> > > Why not signing the output artefact?
> > > = attesting: "I was able to produce such a binary" (and I don't tell
> > > precisely how my build environment was near from the official one)?
> > 
> > The answer to this hinges on whether collisions — i.e., two
> > *substantively* different .buildinfo files that happen to generate
> > identical artifacts — are possible.  I can imagine such cases:
> > 
> > Suppose somebody releases foo-1.0.0 and then foo-1.0.1 where the only
> > change is that one of the generated Perl scripts shipped in the binary
> > package has one more line when binary package is for Linux systems.
> > Suppose further somebody builds foo-1.0.1 for BSD systems and signs it.
> > You wouldn't want a Linux user who runs into that artifact to succeed in
> > verifying it: on BSD the binary artifacts foo-1.0.0 and foo-1.0.1 are
> > identical, but on Linux they wouldn't be.
> I don't really get the example: trying to compare 2 different versions is not 
> about build reproducibility
> I really think the key question is: do we expect multiple signatures on one 
> file, whatever this file is (the binary artifact or a buildinfo file 
> representing a typical build environment)? Then a hosting solution that has to 
> append to a .asc file
> Or never expect multiple signatures, but only new files (then in this 
> scenario, the new files will be buildinfo files, because the reference binary 
> artifact is unique)?

I think you're mixing design and implementation here.  All these
discussions about new files / appending to files are implementation
considerations; there are many alternative ways to do both of these
things.  I think the questions, at this point, are:

- Is a rebuild expected to reproduce the binary artifact verbatim?

- Is a rebuild expected to reproduce the buildinfo file verbatim?

- What exactly gets PGP-signed?  (The binary artifact?  The buildinfo?
  If the latter, how does one then establish trust in the binary



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