In Debian we strongly value the ability to compile a package from its sources, administering liberally RC bugs to packages that do not possess this feature. However, sources are never enough to build a package: you also need an already-compiled Debian distribution to satisfy all the dependencies, which often create cycles and self-dependencies. This create a chicken-and-egg problem, with theoretical and practical implications. It has to do with security, auditability, architecture bootstrapping, reproducible builds and free software philosophy.
Some projects are ongoing to fix this situation, both in Debian and outside of it. We would like to discuss the motivations, current state of the art, and future directions of bootstrappable builds. The long term goal is, one glorious day, to be able to compile the whole Debian given all of its sources and no more than a few kilobytes of binary code.
Spoiler: we’re not yet there. There is a lot of work to do, it is fun and your patches are more than welcome.
If you want to warm up, here you have a few links:
Do you like to sing? We do, and we would like to sing together some nice choral music. Everybody is welcome, even if you (think you) are not good at singing. We will have some easy music and you might discover that it is not that hard after all, but very enjoyable. Don’t be shy, even if you have never read music or sang. We will try to have fun together, and we need your help. :-)