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The conventions for the JVM ecosystem are under active development, see how-to contribute.

The JVM ecosystem provides many languages and build tools. Since the JVM is not reproducible-friendly from the beginning – jar/zip files are a first natural source of variation, with files order and timestamp –, each build tool requires some work to provide Reproducible Builds.

.buildinfo file

Whatever the build tool is, binary JVM artifacts are generally published in artifact repositories that use the Maven2 repository format (using groupId/artifactId/version coordinates) like Maven Central or Google’s Android Repository.

Being able to rebuild artifacts published in these repositories will require some information: where to get the sources from? Which build environment to setup to rebuild the artifacts?

This is the purpose of JVM Buildinfo files: they are expected to be published alongside artifacts as separate ${artifactId}-${version}.buildinfo file, with content in Java properties format:

#### Work In Progress ####

name=<name of the artifact>
group-id=<groupId coordinates in repository>
artifact-id=<artifactId coordinates in repository>
version=<version coordinates in repository>

# source information for rebuilders, as source tarball artifact in repository and/or url and/or scm coordinates
source.url=<url where to download official source tarball>
source.scm.uri=<source control uri, typically corresponding to the project.scm.developerConnection or project.scm.connection in the pom.xml>
source.scm.tag=<source control tag as in pom.xml>

# build instructions
build.setup=<optional url of documentation explaining specific additional setup when necessary: will be enhanced in a future buildinfo format version>

# effective recorded build environment information
java.version=<Java version taken from "java.version" system property>
java.vendor=<Java vendor taken from "java.vendor" system property><Operating System name taken from "" system property>
source.used=<artifact|url|scm, depending on which has been used for the build>

# Each build tool or plugin is free to add additional entries to the buildinfo,
# both for build instructions and effective recorded build environment.
# For example, the sbt plugin may add the following for Scala:

# and Maven could add data on rebuild instructions and effective recorded environment:
mvn.rebuild-args=-Dmaven.test.skip package<groupId>:<artifactId>:<version>
mvn.version=Apache Maven 3.6.3 (cecedd343002696d0abb50b32b541b8a6ba2883f)
mvn.minimum.version=<minimum Maven version to rebuild if known>

# A buildinfo file can contain checksums for multiple output files, for
# example for the main jar and the accompanying pom.xml (when generated):
outputs.0.filename=<file name in the repository, ${artifactId}-${version}[-${classifier}].${extension}>
outputs.0.length=<file size>
outputs.0.checksums.sha512=<sha512 lowercase>
outputs.1.filename=<file name in the repository>
outputs.1.length=<file size>
outputs.1.checksums.sha512=<sha512 lowercase>

Notice that ${artifactId}-${version}-sources.jar files published in Maven repositories are not buildable sources, but sources for IDEs.

Source tarballs, intended for building, are not always published in repositories but only sometimes, with 2 classical naming conventions:

Auditing a Build

Builds that are publishing a Buildinfo file are expected to be reproducible and the Buildinfo file is expected to contain everything required to rebuild and get the same output: if you find a Buildinfo file that is not sufficient to rebuild or you don’t get the same result, please get in contact with the project to help improve reproducibility.

Without Buildinfo file, as explained on top of this page, by default, jars found in public repositories probably won’t be reproducible. But you can try to rebuild them and measure how much they are not reproducible:

  1. download the jar from a public repository,
  2. determine which major version of JDK was used to produce it: usually, the full Java version is found in META-INF/MANIFEST.MF by running unzip -p xxx.jar META-INF/MANIFEST.MF
  3. find sources and build instructions on originating project site
  4. rebuild with a JDK of the same major version than the version found on step 2
  5. examine the differences using diffoscope

Usually, you’ll find a few files that are different, in addition to zip content timestamp and order. Notice that if you didn’t use the same JDK major version, you’ll see many differences in .class files.

Improving the build to get reproducible builds will then be specific to each build tool. You may discuss issues and fixes on the Reproducible Builds mailing list.

Reproducible Builds for Maven

Getting reproducible builds with Maven requires some plugins configuration: see Maven - Guide to Configuring for Reproducible Builds for more details.

Work is in progress also with maven-buildinfo-plugin to easily provide Buildinfo files once a build has been made reproducible.

source release archive

To create a source release archive, see Apache Source Release Assembly Descriptor that is commonly used. Nothing prevents you to create your own assembly descriptor or even use another plugin: don’t hesitate to share recipes.

rebuild arguments

A rebuilder does not need to execute integration tests or even unit tests, may even skip compiling unit tests. Classical arguments contain following patterns:

  • package phase: no need to deploy or even install
  • -Dmaven.test.skip: avoid running tests and even compiling tests
  • -DskipTests: avoid running tests, but still builds (necessary for some projects)
  • -Dgpg.skip: avoid PGP signing
  • -Papache-release or any release profile: activate release-specific tasks used by maven-release-plugin
  • -Dline.separator=$'\r\n': define Windows line endings from an Unix environment

multi-module build

For multi-module builds, each produced artifact will have its own buildinfo file with property defined, to know the root from which the rebuild must happen.

Reproducible Builds for Gradle

Gradle supports reproducible archives as of v3.4

Tasks which generate archives, such as ZIPs or JARs, can enforce preserved file timestamps and reproducible file order which fix two of the main sources of non-determinism in JVM artifacts.

Reproducible Builds for sbt

When using sbt, a build tool popular with Scala projects, you can use the sbt-reproducible-builds plugin to strip your artifacts and share buildinfo information.

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