Bug#844431: Packages should be reproducible

Chris Lamb lamby at debian.org
Tue Nov 15 17:27:44 UTC 2016

Package: debian-policy
X-Debbugs-Cc: reproducible-builds at lists.alioth.debian.org

Dear Policy maintainers,

Whilst anyone can inspect the source code in Debian for malicious
flaws, we distribute pre-compiled to end users. The motivation behind
the Reproducible Builds effort is to permit verification that no flaws
have been introduced — either maliciously or accidentally — during this
compilation process by promising identical results are always generated
from a given source, thus allowing multiple third-parties to come to a
consensus on whether a build was compromised.

Debian has been making great strides to make itself reproducible,
contributing 100s patches, not only within Debian itself but also to
upstream projects. We have also been running a comprehensive and non-
trivial CI framework to test for reproducibility of packages for quite
some time.

However, the recent arrival of the final pieces of the toolchain into
unstable encourages me to propose that we add a recommendation that
packages in Debian should be reproducible.

This would be act both as documentation of a modern best practice, but
also act as a "placeholder" so that we can increase its severity at some
future date.

[As a mild suggestion to streamline this; we should probably come to some
consensus on principle of this addition to Policy first and only then
move to the more difficult topic of defining exactly what reproducibility
means in a technical sense.]


     : :'  :     Chris Lamb
     `. `'`      lamby at debian.org / chris-lamb.co.uk

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