Reproducible Builds for a Better Future

Presented by Valerie Young
Thursday 11:35 a.m.–12:20 p.m.
Target audience: Community


Many free software projects (Tor, Debian, Fedora and more) have dedicated a great deal of time and effort toward the reproducible builds goal: anyone can download the source code and generate identical binaries. This technical goal has a massive impact on delivering free software's promised freedoms. Our vision:

  1. Anyone can verify that the binary program they are running came from the source code they separately downloaded.
  2. Anyone can reliably modify their software without fear it will not build on their system.

This talk will begin with the story of the Tor browser bundle becoming entirely reproducible. You will learn how the technical success of Tor inspired the Debian project's ongoing efforts, resulting in an 85% reproducible operating system so far, and other parallel efforts. After laying down this technical and historical background, the talk will focus on concrete ways that achieving reproducible builds will change our relationship with software in the future.

The intended audience is anyone who cares about free software, no matter your technical experience.

Presented by

Valerie Young

Valerie became involved in the Debian's Reproducible Builds effort as a direct result of discovering Outreachy, a Google Summer of Code-like internship for women and minorities. A long time enthusiast and user of Debian, she applied and was awarded funding to work on the Debian reproducible builds effort in May 2016. Her first project was contributing to, the website that surface results from tests for build reproducibility of all Debian packages. She is now a regular contributor to Debian and the reproducible builds effort. Valerie also serves the Free Software Community from her position on the board of directors of Software in the Public Interest, Inc.

Previous to Debian work, Valerie worked on a Electronic Medical Record webapp (closed source) for two years, and before that was a student of Computer Science and Physics at Boston University. At BU, she co-founded the hackerspace, a space for interdisciplinary technical collaborations between students, where she was first introduced to Debian and the free software movement.

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