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Re: [Bug-xorriso] ISO images are not reproducible

From: Thomas Schmitt
Subject: Re: [Bug-xorriso] ISO images are not reproducible
Date: Fri, 19 Apr 2019 14:46:48 +0200


> Files added by ‘grub-mkrescue’ are “out of our control” so we would need
> to patch ‘grub-mkrescue’ to honor SOURCE_DATE_EPOCH, for example.

Google shows that patches have been proposed. But they seem not to
have made it into the source.

Vladimir Serbinko's answer here
might be the reason. I understand that he demands uniqueness of UUIDs.

But that's not really a problem with reproducible ISOs. If pseudo-random
UUIDs depend deterministically on SOURCE_DATE_EPOCH, then collisions are
only to expect between ISOs made with the same seconds value.
This can also happen if non-reproducible ISOs are made while their
systems' clocks show the same time by mere incident.

So one should use SOURCE_DATE_EPOCH values with best possible entropy.
Not one humanly invented lucky number for all ISOs of a distro.

If ever two identical ISOs are offered to GRUB at boot time, it needs
some imagination to construct a problem if GRUB operates on the one
which was not used by the EFI firmware to start GRUB.

So when a reproducible ISO is made for the first time, its SOURCE_DATE_EPOCH
should be taken from "date +%s" and recorded for further runs.
The ISO will bear it as "Creation Time", like "2019021612165300".
The last two digits "00" are centiseconds and should be ignored even
if not "00".
If decoding that time back to seconds-since-1970 is cumbersome, one may
store the seconds value in a data file in the input tree of the ISO
before packing up by a xorriso run with SOURCE_DATE_EPOCH having that

> after rereading the Xorriso manual, it seemed to me that if we
> set SOURCE_DATE_EPOCH and pass:
>   -volume_date all_file_dates set_to_mtime
> then all the files would have the mtime specified by SOURCE_DATE_EPOCH,
> which would solve the problem.

This is the support for ignoring atime and ctime changes of input files
but respecting their mtime changes.

If you want a fixed time for all three timestamps in all files, do:

  -volume_date all_file_dates ="$SOURCE_DATE_EPOCH"

The "=" announces seconds-since-1970 as time format. See -alter_date.

Note that in this proposal $SOURCE_DATE_EPOCH is evaluated by the shell,
not by xorriso. Depending on the way how xorriso is started, you need to
insert the actual number.

Have a nice day :)


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