[Reproducible-builds] Reprotest week 59 blog comments

Ceridwen ceridwen.mailing.lists at gmail.com
Fri Jun 17 22:10:26 UTC 2016

On Fri, 2016-06-17 at 19:13 +0200, Ximin Luo wrote:
> > For other packages, it's unclear to me whether I should specify
> > them as depends or recommends: they aren't dependencies in a strict
> > sense, but marking them as dependencies will make it easier to
> > install a fully-functional reprotest.
> You should specify these as Recommends, the definition matches what
> you just described [1]. Also see how diffoscope does things.
> [1] https://www.debian.org/doc/debian-policy/ch-relationships.html#s-
> binarydeps starting from "The meaning of the five dependency fields
> is as follows:"

autopkgtest has these as Suggests rather than Recommends, and I
followed its example.  On Lunar's suggestion, for the first alpha
release I'm removing them altogether since the functionality that
requires them isn't working yet.  When I get the functionality, I will
put them back as Recommends if everyone agrees about that.

> I'd say it's better to fail fast. Warnings can easily be missed. If
> the user really doesn't want to test a variation, they can disable it
> using the mechanisms you already mentioned. 

I will make it so that if a variation *is* available for a particular environment/container but can't be executed because something is missing, reprotest will error out.  Since not all environments/containers can test all variations, I don't think it will be useful to force users to go through and disable all the variations that can't be tested on the environment/container they want to run it on.  For instance, I'm not going to have reprotest complain that when building on an existing system, the variations that require superuser privileges aren't available.

> > Locales are a particular problem because I don't know of a way in
> > Debian to specify that a given locale must be installed.
> All locales are installed by default (unless you install the
> "localepurge" package, which is an unsupported hack that you don't
> need to worry about), so you just need to reconfigure the locales
> package to "generate" the fr locale. I'm not sure how this works
> exactly, but you can look into it. You can do it manually via `sudo
> dpkg-reconfigure locales` but you might be able to script this within
> reprotest.

The bigger problem here is that since I'm designing reprotest not to be
useful just for Debian-based systems, as far as I know there's no
general way to control which locales are available.  What about BSD and

The prebuilder script hard-codes certain locales, which vary by
architecture on tests.reproducible-builds.org.  From asking in IRC, as
far as I know different locales were chosen for different architectures
simply to test more different locales on t.rb.o.  Some accompanying
questions about locales:

* Should reprotest also hard-code certain locales?

* If more than one locale is hard-coded, how does it pick which locales
to test with?

* Given the behavior above, where it errors out if something it needs
to test a variation isn't available, should it error out if a hard
-coded locale is missing, or should it fall back on some other locale? 
 If it falls back, how should it pick which locale to fall back too?

* Should it be able to test more than two different locales?  Should
this be the default?  This makes things more complicated and
potentially a lot slower.

* How do I communicate to the users all of this locale handling in a
transparent and simple way?

I'm a little averse to hard-coding specific locales, but I don't have
great solutions for any of these problems.

> > While at the moment, reprotest only builds on the existing system,
> > when I start extending it to other build environments, this will
> > require double-dispatch, because the code that needs to be executed
> > will depend on both the variation to be tested and the environment
> > being built on.

"Double-dispatch" in this case just means that there are two parameters
that determine what code needs to be run, in this case the variation
and the environment.


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