Documentation I

in between :colons: are action items, meaning somebody offered to do this, or if it’s not a name, then we still miss somebody to do it.

Previously -> everyone could edit it

Current doc on

  • One issue with the website is also that there is not a lot of structure.
  • Doc was not edited since 1 year
  • it might be nice to edit 1 PDF generated from 20 pages currently

Problem currently

RB repo / website - not enough people do have access to the git repo How do we give access to more people / how can they contribute?

What’s missing? We do not want a webpage, we want documentation.


Who is the audience of the current documentation?

  • Package maintainers for example
  • OpenBSD and other people who have not started making their stuff reproducible

Documentation should not be only for Debian but cross-distro

  • does this constitute a barrier or can it be done cross-distro?

Distros or build tools?

  • In Debian = easy to define how many percent of the repo are reproducible, because we have official repos. With Android apps it mightbe different, because there is no central build infrastructure. But one might just look at F-Droid, Holger answers to this. So, how many out of these are reproducible?
  • As an example, one could also want to build a browser on Windows reproducibly and want to look into how TorBrowser did it.
  • Patches applied to Debian are not easily applied upstream, and are hard to find for other distros/projects.
  • document stuff which is only patched in Debian and not upstream
  • this could be done automatically (scanning through debian/patches meta headers)

  • Best practices documentation, but this needs to be ordered somehow.
  • One could use personas or categories for restructuring the page: User, Upstream, Distro, Developers etc.

  • Holger wants to get rid of the Debian wiki. and propose all information for Debian, Gentoo, RPMs etc. on Because there is not that much Debian specific stuff to it.
  • Several solutions have a similar mindsets, so it’s a good idea to mix all this information on the website documentation, but using well structured categories (user, upstream, distro, general) and sections for each distro or build tool.

  • Some tools are shared, like GCC, but some aren’t like dpkg. But the approaches that one takes are relevant.

What’s the tools behind the website?

  • Git repository on the bottom. markdown + jekyll. -> then one can send patches, pull requests or commit rights.
  • Proposal to mirror this one GitHub, so that people can easily edit stuff and make pull requests -> but we also want mirroring :ho1ger:
  • This should then be mentioned on the website and mailing list! :ho1ger:

Who should work on this?

  • It could be cool to have an intern/Outreachy person work on the reorganization of the documentation, contact distros, understand how this works
  • don’t forget that this needs mentoring
  • put this proposal on the agenda of Outreachy for the next round :actionitem:

proposal: document examples of projects that have worked on RB.

  • storytelling. What’s the expected response: See that something is happening? Gives a sense of the scale of RB.
  • There should be talks and slides linked. Vagrant, Lunar, Torproject etc. :actionitem:
  • Moving talks from the Debian wiki to the website :actionitem:
  • remove the old pages from the Debian wiki so that content does not get duplicated :actionitem:

don’t just have a long documentation, but also a very consice FAQ for

upstreams for example.

  • why is reproducibility important, where do i get information for this or that?
  • the ideal documentation, how would it look like? realistically!

What is the definition of “Reproducible Build”?

  • We want to have an agreement on what it means to be reproducible. :we might try to define this during the summit:
  • it’s better to have some definition, because we currently we don’t have anything.
  • some proposal was “RB is the result of creating a binary from a source and ensure it is bit by bit identic.”
  • we do have a problem about metadata and its definition
  • it’s like with Free Software licenses, some are more free than others ;)
  • we could try to agree on a sentence which we all agree on at least :)
  • because “there is a lot of things we actually agree on”

Which tools can be used to verify reproducibility?

  • we don’t use special diff tools to see if something is the same. We need to have the same way of verifying and we need to include this into the definition or a subsection of this definition.
  • Why? : problem with apk (android), contains jar signature, same with rpm which includes signatures inside the rpm. In Debian, we have the idea to use SHA-sums. OTOH, iOS binaries are all different, because each one uses a special device key
    • that’s an attack factor.
    • Signal i.e. has a specific tool to compare two signal builds. That’s very wrong.