Should we stop distributing source tarballs?

Tobias Leupold tl at
Sat Apr 6 19:26:43 BST 2024

Am Samstag, 6. April 2024, 18:22:22 CEST schrieb Sven Brauch:
> Hi,
> On 06.04.24 13:07, Marc Deop i Argemí wrote:
> > If you automate things, everything can be reviewed/validated by more than
> > one
> > entity and thus increasing security.
> > 
> > The CI can be reviewed and audited but your personal laptop and your
> > workflow
> > cannot.
> This is basically a discussion about whether it is less risky to trust 
> the individual developers, or the people with access to the CI signing 
> key. You are trading likeliness of there being one bad actor vs. impact 
> one bad actor can have. It's a matter of personal opinion; there is no 
> right or wrong choice here.
> Whenever one option goes wrong, it will be easy to argue for changing to 
> the other, until that one goes wrong, at which point you can change back.
> ;)
> IMO the only actual improvement here would be reproducible tarballing: 
> if each run of the packaging script produces the same result on all 
> systems, the maintainers can locally build the tarball, sign the hash, 
> upload the signature, then have the CI system build the same tarball and 
> sign it again. Then KDE publishes both signatures and downstreams check 
> them both.
> I don't know how hard that would be to achieve technically, several 
> obstacles come to mind immediately. But it would actually increase trust 
> instead of just moving it around.
> Greetings,
> Sven

Hi Sven and all,

you're totally right about the fact that you can trust an individual dev 
packaging a release on a local machine as much or as less as somebody running 
the infrastructure on the other side. I personally am all with Carl: I also 
would like to continue creating release tarballs on my local machine.

None of all those technical dodges, may they be crafty as can be, would have 
prevented the backdoor which was the initial ignition of this whole 

Don't get me wrong. I'm all for signing release tarballs. If you want, we can 
also create signed tags if you think we need them. I also see that it's 
meaningful that such a release tarball contains the exact code of a tag. But 
we currently create checksums and PGP signatures for release tarballs, all 
created by a script. Which already makes the whole process completely 
reproducible. The tarball is the very code you get if you check out the tag. A 
distributor could check out the tag and compare the tarball with the resulting 

I only want to say we should ponder which real benefit any change will 
actually bring. Please don't make contributing to KDE harder than it has to 

Cheers, Tobias

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