How to talk to skeptics?

FC Stegerman flx at
Wed Dec 21 16:47:24 UTC 2022

* "Bernhard M. Wiedemann via rb-general" <rb-general at> [2022-12-14 20:30]:
> a colleague of mine is rather skeptic towards bootstrapping and
> reproducible-builds.
> [...]
> In the end, it would be useful to collect some well-worded / well-thought
> counter-arguments on r-b.o (if we don't have that already)
> [...]
> Any thoughts and/or volunteers?

One aspect that I think only Tristan van Berkom explicitly mentioned
[1] so far is IMO quite important: bit-by-bit identical binaries must
behave identically (or at least if they don't we know the problem lies

Even if reproducible builds cannot provide 100% protection against
malicious subversion, we know that bit-by-bit identical binaries
cannot behave differently, whether through subversion or accident.

There can be no bug present in one but not the other, whether the
cause is malicious or simply a non-deterministic build process -- or
even a random bitflip -- producing subtly different binaries.

Non-determinism often hides bugs or makes them harder to find.  With
RB, you know that any change in a program's behaviour must be caused
by a change in its source code and cannot be caused by a "random"
difference between different builds, making debugging easier.

- FC


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