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Re: [gnu-prog-discuss] Automake dist reproducibility

From: Mike Gerwitz
Subject: Re: [gnu-prog-discuss] Automake dist reproducibility
Date: Tue, 22 Dec 2015 12:00:19 -0500
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/25.1.50 (gnu/linux)

There is ongoing discussion about reproducible builds within GNU.  I'm
having trouble figuring out the best approach for deterministic
distribution archives using Automake.

Here's my original message on gnu-prog-discuss:

> I did read
> Automake-generated Makefiles have many archive options.  I'm assuming
> that my best option is to modify the timestamps and other metadata of
> the files in distdir using `dist-hook`, but that doesn't solve file
> ordering.
> What would the GNU recommendation be in this case, and what fits best
> with the spirit of Automake?  Post-processing the tarball is awkward
> since it is part of a pipeline (to whatever compression algorithm is
> chosen for the final archive).  I'm not sure how to modify am__tar to
> include processing as part of that pipeline (e.g. as used in
> dist-gzip)---Automake doesn't provide options to configure its value
> outside of _AM_PROG_TAR, which is rigid.
> strip-nondeterminism appears to support ar, gzip, jar, and zip; should I
> just use that?

Ludo had some suggestions:

On Tue, Dec 22, 2015 at 17:23:55 +0100, Ludovic Courtès wrote:
> At the very least, Automake should change the default value of
> ‘GZIP_ENV’ to “--best --no-name” (the latter tells gzip to not add a
> timestamp in its output.)
> Ideally ‘make dist’ would also sort files in the archives.  Recent
> versions of GNU tar support ‘--sort=name’ but we’d need a way to do that
> portably (or require GNU tar for ‘make dist’.)
> Lastly, archive timestamps could be reset, as per address@hidden, but again,
> portability needs to be considered.  In some cases, this feature might
> need to be turned off.
> Thoughts?

Is there a [good] way to solve this problem until we can implement any
suggestions in Automake?

Mike Gerwitz
Free Software Hacker | GNU Maintainer
FSF Member #5804 | GPG Key ID: 0x8EE30EAB

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