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Re: Preparing the reduced bootstrap tarballs

From: Jeremiah
Subject: Re: Preparing the reduced bootstrap tarballs
Date: Sun, 18 Nov 2018 12:56:09 +0000

> However, my impression (correct me if I'm wrong) is that we are not yet
> able to bootstrap Guix exclusively from M2-Planet.
That is correct as the step of bootstrapping MesCC from M2-Planet is not
yet complete.
However once that is done, we can leverage Mes.c and gash to complete
the bootstrap of guix from that trusted reproducible source in a
reproducible fashion.

> For example, unless
> I'm mistaken, we still need Guile in our bootstrap, and I'm guessing
> that we are not yet able to build Guile exclusively from M2-Planet.
> Is that right?
We don't need it, so much as it is people wishing to avoid tedious work.
We already can bootstrap kaem without any shells or interpreters and it
can be used to run shell scripts that can perform the rest of the
bootstrap of a lisp or a proper shell.

I think because that work is less of a technical challenge that it has
been skipped.

> My only point is that if we cannot yet avoid blindly trusting
> precompiled binaries,

Depends on how restricted of an environment you ware willing to work in

> I have higher confidence in our 2013 binaries than
> in binaries we would produce today, because (1) we are more likely to be
> a target today because Guix has become far more popular, (2) I expect
> that intelligence agencies have far more advanced tools today than they
> did in 2013, and (3) I expect that governmental policies have become far
> more favorable to permitting such attacks against projects such as ours.

1) Granted
2) Not exactly; simply because the most advanced attack tool ever
invented was the Nexus Intruder Program in 1958. (Hardware that subverts
software that later subverts hardware designs and more software
[firmware, microcode, etc]). The tools might get more expensive but the
actual quality of attack tools depends on the teams and the market's
demand for pumping out vulnerable products and bugs. (Like the recent
Hard drive firmware attack which leveraged the vendor's cost cutting
process to hijack the drives and then lock out future attempts at
3) Actually Government agencies are depending more and more on "Open
source tools" (Their words not mine) as software budgets have gotten
tighter and third party vendors integrate them more and more into their
commercial offerings purchased by Goverment agencies. Putting a backdoor
in the software most Government agencies depend upon, invites
vulnerabilities in our own Intelligence Agencies infrastructure and
increase the probablity that Spies will be identified before their
flight to their target country leaves the ground. To do such would not
only be suicidal for those Intelligence Agencies but also ensure
Cyberwarfare against the Countries they work for that much more

Now that isn't to say they consider that an extranality and doom us all
but nothing stays hidden when we can read the source and can DDC our
entire bootstrap across arbitrary hardware/operating system


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