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Design proposal: Verify prebuilts using content hashing

Verify prebuilts using content hashing

Proposal status: Implemented and in production
Author: David James <davidjames@>

Summary

I'd like to propose a small change to the way we verify prebuilts. This change is intended to ensure that developers do not need to build packages from source if they have not modified them locally. This should shave significant time off developer builds (e.g., up to 20 minutes, if the developer syncs at a busy time).

What needs to be changed?

Right now, we only use prebuilts for builds if the SHA1 of the commit that we tested exactly matches the SHA1 in the remote repository. This is needed for correctness, as explained below in the “Why is prebuilt verification needed at all?” section.

Unfortunately, in practice, the SHA1 of the commit we tested often differs from the SHA1 in the remote repository. This happens because when the commit queue submits a change, Gerrit adds in new metadata to the commit message, causing the prebuilts to become invalid.

Currently, the commit queue accounts for this problem by just rebuilding any packages with incorrect SHA1s on the next run. This doesn’t help, though, if developers sync during the day, when many changes are being pushed by the commit queue. In that case, this problem causes developer builds to slow down significantly, as they need to rebuild many packages from source.

Proposed solution

We should use the SHA1 of the contents of the source tree to validate the prebuilts. Unlike the commit hash, this SHA1 is unaffected by the history of the repository, or by commit messages. This ensures that users always have correct prebuilts, without causing unnecessary rebuilds.

Implementation

  1. First, add the SHA1 of the contents of the source tree into the ebuild as CROS_WORKON_TREE. This can be calculated instantly using the following command:
    git log -1 --format=%T
  2. Next, add CROS_WORKON_TREE_$CROS_WORKON_TREE to IUSE in cros-workon.eclass.
  3. Finally, remove CROS_WORKON_COMMIT_$CROS_WORKON_COMMIT from IUSE from cros-workon.eclass.

Why is prebuilt verification needed at all?

Besides the above proposal, another option for speeding up builds would be to eliminate verification of SHA1s in ebuilds entirely. This would speed up builds, but would open up developers to race conditions where they might have incorrect builds.

Example: If one developer sends a change through the commit queue, and another developer bypasses the commit queue at the same time, the ebuild will be marked with the latest SHA1 (including both change), but the prebuilt may only include the first change. This results in developers (and bots that use binaries) never picking up the ‘chump’ change.

There are also other race conditions. Example:

  1. A chump change is pushed to power_manager.
  2. The incremental builder kicks off.
  3. Another chump change is pushed to power_manager.
  4. The commit queue kicks off and marks both changes as stable.
  5. The incremental builder kicks off again, and doesn’t notice any changes, because its local prebuilt has the same version number as the one that was pushed by the commit queue.

Based on the above problems, I think that we should not eliminate prebuilt verification of SHA1s, and instead use the proposed solution above.

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