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bug#20272: Support reproducible builds

From: Mark H Weaver
Subject: bug#20272: Support reproducible builds
Date: Wed, 03 Feb 2016 21:41:33 -0500
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.5 (gnu/linux)

address@hidden (Ludovic Courtès) writes:

> Currently .go files embed randomly-generated symbols stemming from
> ‘syntax-session-id’, which prevents reproducible builds (see
> <https://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/guix-devel/2013-09/msg00159.html>.)
> One way to fix it would be to allow users to specify a random seed used
> when generating session ids, and to make that available as a
> command-line option to ‘guild compile’.  (GCC does something similar
> with its ‘-frandom-seed’ option.)

We could add this, but it is not analogous to the -frandom-seed option
where it is okay to give it the same value everywhere.  Users would need
to ensure that distinct session-ids are used for every invocation of

More precisely, users of this feature would need to observe the
following restriction, or else unspecified behavior may result:

  If   A.go is generated by a Guile session with session-id A, and
       B.go is generated by a Guile session with session-id B, and
  they are both loaded into a Guile session with session-id C, then
  A, B, and C must all be distinct session-ids.

One more thing: even with a deterministic session-id, the multi-threaded
compiling of *.go files recently added to Guix will lead to
non-deterministic outputs.  I'm not sure how to make this work
deterministically with concurrency.  Even if we switched to a fixed
number of concurrent processes with one thread each, when process A
attempts to load a .go file that is produced by process B, it is not
deterministic whether it will be there.  If it is there, the macros in
that .go file will contain B's session-id, and if not, they will contain
A's session-id.

> Probably, ‘syntax-session-id’ would have to be a SRFI-39 parameter

This might adversely affect the efficiency of our macro expander on
platforms with slow thread local variables, and I'm not sure what it
would buy us.  If the idea is that it would allow us to build things in
multiple threads, I think that won't work anyway, for the reasons given

I'm not entirely sure I've not made a mistake in my thinking, however.


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