Reproducible builds

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Reproducible builds, also known as deterministic compilation, is a process of compiling software which ensures the resulting binary code can be reproduced. Source code compiled using deterministic compilation will always output the same binary.[1][2]

Deterministic compilation can act as part of a chain of trust;[1] the source code can be signed, and deterministic compilation can prove that the binary was compiled from trusted source code. The aim is to prove that the source code has not been tampered/modified to e.g. add a backdoor.

Methods[edit]

For the compilation process to be deterministic, the input to the compiler must be the same, regardless of the build environment used. This typically involves normalizing variables that may change, such as order of input files, timestamps, locales, and paths.

Additionally, the compilers must not introduce indeterminism themselves. This sometimes happens when using hash tables with a random hash seed value. It can also happen when using the address of variables because that varies from Address space layout randomization.

Build systems, such as Bazel and Gitian,[3] can be used to automate a deterministic build process.

History[edit]

One of the first projects to promote reproducible builds was the Bitcoin project with Gitian. Later, in 2013, the Tor (anonymity network) project started using Gitian for their reproducible builds.[4] In July 2017 more than 90% of the packages in the Debian repository have been shown to be able to build reproducibly.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "reproducible-builds.org". reproducible-builds.org. Archived from the original on 20 May 2016. Retrieved 22 August 2016. Reproducible builds are a set of software development practices which create a verifiable path from human readable source code to the binary code used by computers....build system needs to be made entirely deterministic: transforming a given source must always create the same result.
  2. ^ Ratliff, Emily (4 April 2016). "Establishing Correspondence Between an Application and its Source Code | SecurityWeek.com". www.securityweek.com. SecurityWeek. Archived from the original on 20 September 2016. Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  3. ^ "Gitian: a secure software distribution method". gitian.org. Retrieved 2018-01-10.
  4. ^ Deterministic Builds Part Two: Technical Details. October 04, 2013
  5. ^ "Linux-Distributionen: Mehr als 90 Prozent der Debian-Pakete reproduzierbar - Golem.de" (in German). 2017-07-24. Retrieved 2018-10-30.

External links[edit]