What do we really mean by "reproducible"?

Ximin Luo infinity0 at debian.org
Mon Jan 16 19:49:00 UTC 2017

Santiago Vila:
> Greetings.
> Before I use this rationale more times in some discussions out there, I'd
> like to be sure that there is a consensus.
> What's the definition of reproducible? It is more like A or more like B?
> A. Every time the package is attempted to build, the build succeeds,
> and the same .deb are always created.
> B. Every time the build is attempted and the builds succeeds, the
> same .deb are always created.
> In other words: It is ok to consider "always build ok" as a prerequisite
> to consider a source package "reproducible"?

If you are going to be defining things in documents that are meant to be composed and reused later on, then it is better to define terms to be orthogonal to each other, to make this more easy. So (B) is the better option.

If you're just arguing with random people on the internet, pick whatever you feel like.

If you're writing a standard policy item that people should follow, I'd define "reproducible" as (B) but then say "builds reproducibly" is what is required, with the same meaning as (A).


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