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5 March 2023

Reproducible Builds: Reproducible Builds in February 2023

Welcome to the February 2023 report from the Reproducible Builds project. As ever, if you are interested in contributing to our project, please visit the Contribute page on our website.
FOSDEM 2023 was held in Brussels on the 4th & 5th of February and featured a number of talks related to reproducibility. In particular, Akihiro Suda gave a talk titled Bit-for-bit reproducible builds with Dockerfile discussing deterministic timestamps and deterministic apt-get (original announcement). There was also an entire track of talks on Software Bill of Materials (SBOMs). SBOMs are an inventory for software with the intention of increasing the transparency of software components (the US National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) published a useful Myths vs. Facts document in 2021).
On our mailing list this month, Larry Doolittle was puzzled why the Debian verilator package was not reproducible [ ], but Chris Lamb pointed out that this was due to the use of Python s datetime.fromtimestamp over datetime.utcfromtimestamp [ ].
James Addison also was having issues with a Debian package: in this case, the alembic package. Chris Lamb was also able to identify the Sphinx documentation generator as the cause of the problem, and provided a potential patch that might fix it. This was later filed upstream [ ].
Anthony Harrison wrote to our list twice, first by introducing himself and their background and later to mention the increasing relevance of Software Bill of Materials (SBOMs):
As I am sure everyone is aware, there is a growing interest in [SBOMs] as a way of improving software security and resilience. In the last two years, the US through the Exec Order, the EU through the proposed Cyber Resilience Act (CRA) and this month the UK has issued a consultation paper looking at software security and SBOMs appear very prominently in each publication. [ ]

Tim Retout wrote a blog post discussing AlmaLinux in the context of CentOS, RHEL and supply-chain security in general [ ]:
Alma are generating and publishing Software Bill of Material (SBOM) files for every package; these are becoming a requirement for all software sold to the US federal government. What s more, they are sending these SBOMs to a third party (CodeNotary) who store them in some sort of Merkle tree system to make it difficult for people to tamper with later. This should theoretically allow end users of the distribution to verify the supply chain of the packages they have installed?


F-Droid & Android

diffoscope diffoscope is our in-depth and content-aware diff utility. Not only can it locate and diagnose reproducibility issues, it can provide human-readable diffs from many kinds of binary formats. This month, Chris Lamb released versions 235 and 236; Mattia Rizzolo later released version 237. Contributions include:
  • Chris Lamb:
    • Fix compatibility with PyPDF2 (re. issue #331) [ ][ ][ ].
    • Fix compatibility with ImageMagick version 7.1 [ ].
    • Require at least version 23.1.0 to run the Black source code tests [ ].
    • Update debian/tests/control after merging changes from others [ ].
    • Don t write test data during a test [ ].
    • Update copyright years [ ].
    • Merged a large number of changes from others.
  • Akihiro Suda edited the .gitlab-ci.yml configuration file to ensure that versioned tags are pushed to the container registry [ ].
  • Daniel Kahn Gillmor provided a way to migrate from PyPDF2 to pypdf (#1029741).
  • Efraim Flashner updated the tool metadata for isoinfo on GNU Guix [ ].
  • FC Stegerman added support for Android resources.arsc files [ ], improved a number of file-matching regular expressions [ ][ ] and added support for Android dexdump [ ]; they also fixed a test failure (#1031433) caused by Debian s black package having been updated to a newer version.
  • Mattia Rizzolo:
    • updated the release documentation [ ],
    • fixed a number of Flake8 errors [ ][ ],
    • updated the autopkgtest configuration to only install aapt and dexdump on architectures where they are available [ ], making sure that the latest diffoscope release is in a good fit for the upcoming Debian bookworm freeze.

reprotest Reprotest version 0.7.23 was uploaded to both PyPI and Debian unstable, including the following changes:
  • Holger Levsen improved a lot of documentation [ ][ ][ ], tidied the documentation as well [ ][ ], and experimented with a new --random-locale flag [ ].
  • Vagrant Cascadian adjusted reprotest to no longer randomise the build locale and use a UTF-8 supported locale instead [ ] (re. #925879, #1004950), and to also support passing --vary=locales.locale=LOCALE to specify the locale to vary [ ].
Separate to this, Vagrant Cascadian started a thread on our mailing list questioning the future development and direction of reprotest.

Upstream patches The Reproducible Builds project detects, dissects and attempts to fix as many currently-unreproducible packages as possible. We endeavour to send all of our patches upstream where appropriate. This month, we wrote a large number of such patches, including:

Testing framework The Reproducible Builds project operates a comprehensive testing framework (available at in order to check packages and other artifacts for reproducibility. In February, the following changes were made by Holger Levsen:
  • Add three new OSUOSL nodes [ ][ ][ ] and decommission the osuosl174 node [ ].
  • Change the order of listed Debian architectures to show the 64-bit ones first [ ].
  • Reduce the frequency that the Debian package sets and dd-list HTML pages update [ ].
  • Sort Tested suite consistently (and Debian unstable first) [ ].
  • Update the Jenkins shell monitor script to only query disk statistics every 230min [ ] and improve the documentation [ ][ ].

Other development work disorderfs version 0.5.11-3 was uploaded by Holger Levsen, fixing a number of issues with the manual page [ ][ ][ ].
Bernhard M. Wiedemann published another monthly report about reproducibility within openSUSE.
If you are interested in contributing to the Reproducible Builds project, please visit the Contribute page on our website. You can get in touch with us via:

24 January 2023

Bits from Debian: New Debian Developers and Maintainers (November and December 2022)

The following contributors got their Debian Developer accounts in the last two months: The following contributors were added as Debian Maintainers in the last two months: Congratulations!