[pacman-dev] [PATCH 5/5] makepkg: unify source file times for improved build reproducibility

Andrew Gregory andrew.gregory.8 at gmail.com
Fri May 12 15:09:47 UTC 2017

On 05/12/17 at 12:41pm, Levente Polyak wrote:
> Signed-off-by: Levente Polyak <anthraxx at archlinux.org>
> ---
>  scripts/makepkg.sh.in | 3 +++
>  1 file changed, 3 insertions(+)
> diff --git a/scripts/makepkg.sh.in b/scripts/makepkg.sh.in
> index bd92c526..83c80fa7 100644
> --- a/scripts/makepkg.sh.in
> +++ b/scripts/makepkg.sh.in
> @@ -1731,6 +1731,9 @@ if (( !REPKG )); then
>  		if (( PREPAREFUNC )); then
>  			run_prepare
>  		fi
> +
> +		# unify source times before building for reproducibility
> +		find "$srcdir" -exec touch -h -d "@${SOURCE_DATE_EPOCH}" {} +
>  	fi
>  	if (( PKGVERFUNC )); then

I'm still not convinced we should be doing this in makepkg and I'm not
sure exactly where our disagreement about this is at this point.  So,
let me describe how I would handle reproducible packages and you can
tell me why your approach is better.

First, I'm only concerned about manipulating things that makepkg is
not directly responsible for.  Anything that improves the
reproducibility of makepkg's own output is fine (e.g. removing the
timestamp from .PKGINFO and .MTREE files).  

Beyond that, I don't think makepkg is the place for trying to make
a package reproducible.  We seem to be in agreement that a separate
script will be necessary to actually reproduce a built package.
I would say that the same script should be used to build the original
package in the first place.  Aside from the fact that changes like
this break existing usage patterns for makepkg, makepkg is never going
to be able to guarantee that a package is reproducible.  There are
simply too many variables that can influence the resulting package for
makepkg to ever record them all.

Building a package that is reproducible requires a controlled
environment.  The script that handles reproducing the package has to
be able to setup such an environment, so why not let it setup the
environment for the initial build?  People that don't care about the
reproducibility of the resulting package can continue to use makepkg
as they do now and those that do care can use the wrapper script to
build it.  And, makepkg doesn't have to concern itself with
reproducibility beyond making sure that its own output is

Such a script could handle the timestamp manipulation in this patch.
We already provide several makepkg options to control which steps are
run.  The wrapper would invoke makepkg once to extract/prepare the
sources, the wrapper would then adjust the timestamps itself, finally
it would invoke makepkg again to continue the build.


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