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What is BuildStream?

BuildStream is a Free Software tool for building/integrating software stacks. It takes inspiration, lessons and use-cases from various projects including OBS, Reproducible Builds, Yocto, Baserock, Buildroot, Aboriginal, GNOME Continuous, JHBuild, Flatpak Builder and Android repo.

BuildStream supports multiple build-systems (e.g. autotools, cmake, cpan, distutils, make, meson, qmake), and can create outputs in a range of formats (e.g. debian packages, flatpak runtimes, sysroots, system images) for multiple platforms and chipsets.

Why should I use BuildStream?

BuildStream offers the following advantages:

  • Declarative build instructions/definitions

    BuildStream provides a 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 elements from cache if they are already built, or builds them 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.