Debian and incoherence?

Alexis PM miscelaneanatural at
Wed Apr 12 20:39:36 UTC 2023


> The missing piece is the buildinfo file. :)


> This describes the environment (and most importantly which packages in
> which version were present back then).
> For example gcc 4:9.2.1-3 was used to build
> fbreader_0.12.10dfsg2-4_amd64.deb, while the gcc version currently in
> Debian bullseye is 4:10.2.1-1. The `4:`, `-3`, `-1` are Debian specific,
> if we remove them (for the sake of making it simpler to explain) it's
> gcc 9.2.1 vs gcc 10.2.1. This alone makes it highly unlikely that both
> gcc versions are going to generate an identical binary for the given
> source code (other packages that have been updated in the meantime may
> have an effect as well).

Yes, gcc (= 4:9.2.1-3) versus gcc (= 4:10.2.1-1). 
Among many other version changes of build dependences.
I had not considered that the package was compiled when bullseye was testing,
with another compiler version.
I had a simpler idea in mind: "stable" and "reproducible".

Comparing sizes, my compiled binary is smaller.
-rwxr-xr-x 1 alexis alexis 1754752 sep  1  2019 test/usr/bin/FBReader
-rwxr-xr-x 1 alexis alexis 2139744 sep  1  2019 debian/usr/bin/FBReader

> To reproduce the package on (the one everybody cares
> about), you need:
> - this tool:
> - the build info file I linked above.
> I've last looked into this early 2022, the command I used back then was:
> ./ --output="some/dir/" --builder=mmdebstrap --use-metasnap
> path/to/fbreader_0.12.10dfsg2-4_amd64.buildinfo
> There's a service doing this, run by Frédéric Pierret from QubesOS:
> (results may take a while to
> load)
> The system at doesn't use
> buildinfo files and always tests with the latest version of all
> dependencies, in otherwise very different environments (different
> hardware, different system time, different kernel, etc). I've sometimes
> referred to this as "build environment fuzzing". It's trying to detect
> potential problems as early as possible to make sure it's able to build
> them reproducible despite these factors.

It goes beyond my initial intentions, which was to know what was happening, 
but very interesting.

> I hope this helps, please let me know if anything is still unclear!

Thank you so much.
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