Guix—like other GNU/Linux distributions—is traditionally bootstrapped from a set of bootstrap binaries: Bourne shell, command-line tools provided by GNU Coreutils, Awk, Findutils, ‘sed’, and ‘grep’ and Guile, GCC, Binutils, and the GNU C Library (see Bootstrapping). Usually, these bootstrap binaries are “taken for granted.”
Taking these binaries for granted means that we consider them to be a correct and trustworthy ‘seed’ for building the complete system. Therein lies a problem: the current combined size of these bootstrap binaries is about 250MB (see Bootstrappable Builds in GNU Mes). Auditing or even inspecting these is next to impossible.
x86_64-linux, Guix now features a “Reduced
Binary Seed” bootstrap 30.
The Reduced Binary Seed bootstrap removes the most critical tools—from a
trust perspective—from the bootstrap binaries: GCC, Binutils and the GNU C
Library are replaced by:
bootstrap-mescc-tools (a tiny assembler and
bootstrap-mes (a small Scheme Interpreter and a C compiler
written in Scheme and the Mes C Library, built for TinyCC and for GCC). Using
these new binary seeds and a new set of
the “missing” Binutils, GCC, and the GNU C Library are built from source.
From here on the more traditional bootstrap process resumes. This approach
has reduced the bootstrap binaries in size to about 130MB. Work is ongoing to
reduce this further. If you are interested, join us on
on the Freenode IRC network.
Below is the generated dependency graph for
gcc-mesboot, the bootstrap
compiler used to build the rest of GuixSD.
We would like to say: “Full Source Bootstrap” and while we are working towards that goal it would be hyperbole to use that term for what we do now.
nyacc-boot, mes-boot, tcc-boot0, tcc-boot, make-mesboot0, diffutils-mesboot, binutils-mesboot0, gcc-core-mesboot, mesboot-headers, glibc-mesboot0, gcc-mesboot0, binutils-mesboot, make-mesboot, gcc-mesboot1, gcc-mesboot1-wrapper, glibc-headers-mesboot, glibc-mesboot, gcc-mesboot, and gcc-mesboot-wrapper.