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What is BuildStream?

BuildStream is a powerful software integration tool that allows developers to automate the integration of software components including operating systems, and to streamline the software development and production process.

Some key capabilities of BuildStream include:

  • Defining software stacks in a declarative format: BuildStream allows users to define the steps required to build and integrate software components, including fetching source code and building dependencies.

  • Integrating with version control systems: BuildStream can be configured to fetch source code from popular source code management solutions such as GitLab, GitHub, BitBucket as well as a range of non-git technologies.

  • Supporting a wide range of build technologies: BuildStream supports a wide range of technologies, including key programming languages like C, C++, Python, Rust and Java, as well as many build tools including Make, CMake, Meson, distutils, pip and others.

  • Ability to create outputs in a range of formats: e.g. debian packages, flatpak runtimes, sysroots, system images, for multiple platforms and chipsets.

  • Flexible architecture: BuildStream is designed to be flexible and extensible, allowing users to customize their build and integration processes to meet their specific needs and tooling.

  • Enabling fast and reliable software delivery: By extensibly use of sandboxing techniques and by its capability to distribute the build, BuildStream helps teams deliver high-quality software faster.

Why should I use BuildStream?

BuildStream offers the following advantages:

  • Declarative build instructions/definitions

    BuildStream provides a flexible and extensible framework for the modelling of software build pipelines in a declarative YAML format, which allows you to manipulate filesystem data in a controlled, reproducible sandboxed environment.

  • Support for developer and integrator workflows

    BuildStream provides traceability and reproducibility for integrators handling stacks of hundreds/thousands of components, as well as workspace features and shortcuts to minimise cycle-time for developers.

  • Fast and predictable

    BuildStream can cache previous builds and track changes to source file content and build/config commands. BuildStream only rebuilds the things that have changed.

  • Extensible

    You can extend BuildStream to support your favourite build-system.

  • Bootstrap toolchains and bootable systems

    BuildStream can create full systems and complete toolchains from scratch, for a range of ISAs including x86_32, x86_64, ARMv7, ARMv8, MIPS.

How do I use BuildStream?

Please refer to the documentation for information about installing BuildStream, and about the BuildStream YAML format and plugin options.

How does BuildStream work?

BuildStream operates on a set of YAML files (.bst files), as follows:

  • Loads the YAML files which describe the target(s) and all dependencies.

  • Evaluates the version information and build instructions to calculate a build graph for the target(s) and all dependencies and unique cache-keys for each element.

  • Retrieves previously built elements (artifacts) from a local/remote cache, or builds the elements in a sandboxed environment using the instructions declared in the .bst files.

  • Transforms/configures and/or deploys the resulting target(s) based on the instructions declared in the .bst files.

How can I get started?

To get started, first install BuildStream by following the installation guide and then follow our tutorial in the user guide.

We also recommend exploring some existing BuildStream projects:

If you have any questions please ask on our #buildstream channel in irc.gnome.org