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Date: Tue, 19 Nov 2019 17:00:00 +0100
From: Ludovic Courtès <>
To: Tim Kuijsten <>
Subject: Re: Mitigating malicious packages in gnu/linux


Tim Kuijsten <> skribis:

>> There is not a definitive solution here. But there are multiple efforts and
>> research going on. The most important one, in my opinion, is the reproducible
>> builds project [1]. We need to ensure we are not inserting random or
>> non-deterministic data into our build artifacts. This stretches from upstream
>> developers providing tarballs, to pre-compiled sources and packages from
>> distributions. There is no distribution today that has full reproducible builds,
>> but there are many projects that work towards this and work on reproducible
>> builds.
> One attack that is not solved by reproducible builds is one on the toolchain.
> This can be solved with bootstrappable builds[1] which is about minimizing the
> number of trusted binaries that are needed to produce the toolchain, that
> produced the toolchain, ... that was used to build your package.

Efforts in that area are fruitful and have already led to a smaller set
of “bootstrap seeds” (binaries from which the rest of the system is
built from source) for GNU Guix, an important step forward:

Thanks to people working on GNU Mes and related projects at
<>, we have good hope to see that set of
bootstrap seeds further reduced soon.

Reproducible builds and bootstrappable builds enable provenance tracking
and auditing, which are key to security.


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