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Reproducible Builds

Starting with version 0.23.0, TuxMake should always, when given the same source code, the same build options, and a fixed build environment, produce bit by bit identical artifacts, as described by the Reproducible Builds project.


There are, however, a few caveats. You can only achieve reproducible builds given a fixed build environment. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Base operating system
  • Versions of common tools used in the build: compilers, linkers, etc.
  • TuxMake version
  • TuxMake build options in the command line

Using one the TuxMake container runtimes (--runtime-podman or --runtime=docker) is a good way of achieving a constant build environment, and users on different host operating systems should be able to reproduce each other's builds.


The following artifacts produced by TuxMake are not reproducible:

  • metadata.json: includes build duration times, information from the build machine and operating system, and other details about the local environment (e.g. git branch name).
  • build.log: the generated make command lines can be different across different machines. Examples:
  • --jobs=N depends on the number of cores the build machine has.
  • O=[...] depends on the current user's $HOME directory by default.

Everything else should be reproducible, including kernel images, final configuration, tarballs containing headers/dtbs/modules/kselftest, etc. If you find any artifact that cannot be reproduced (minus the exceptions documented above), please send a bug report.


Alice does a local arm64 build, using a given kernel configuration. At the top of her build log, Alice will see a reproducer command line (the output has been edited to add a few newlines to improve ieadability):

linux (master) $ tuxmake --target-arch arm64 --runtime podman --kconfig tinyconfig
# to reproduce this build locally: tuxmake --target-arch=arm64 --kconfig=tinyconfig \
  --toolchain=gcc --wrapper=ccache --environment=KBUILD_BUILD_TIMESTAMP=@1621270510 \
  --environment=KBUILD_BUILD_USER=tuxmake --environment=KBUILD_BUILD_HOST=tuxmake \
  --runtime=docker \
  config default kernel xipkernel modules dtbs dtbs-legacy debugkernel headers

Now Alice needs her colleague Bob, who is going to help her with testing her changes, to reproduce that build locally. They sync to make sure they are working on the same git tree, and Alice shares the above command line with Bob. Running it on his side, Bob should get a build that is bit by bit identical to the one Alice did on their side. The only artifact that will be different is metadata.json and build.log, because both include data about their local systems.

On container images

As described above, the easiest way of ensuring a consistent build environment is to the TuxMake container images. However, most of them are rebuilt monthly at the beginning of the month and sometimes they get rebuilt during the month if new tools are added to them. There are also nightly images, which are rebuilt, well, every day.

This means you might have trouble reproducing builds done with the previous version of a given image, until we have support for generating reproducer command lines that include the exact image ID.