Reviving BuildFaster: Fixing Makefiles

Posted 1 year, 9 months ago at 17:14. 1 comment

Pull thread to unravelWithout realizing it, a few weeks ago I revived the BuildFaster project.

My initial goal as a manager was simple: get one of my direct reports, Joey, unblocked. However, as is so often the case, that proved to be a very small thread in a very large sweater.

John O’Duinn welcomed Joey to Mozilla with the following note last spring:

Mozilla’s makefiles are used daily by every developer every day, and by RelEng continuous integration machines literally thousands of times every day. Joey will be focused on making these Makefiles more efficient, easier to understand, easier to *safely* change, as well as make them build faster. All super important. Oh, and don’t break anything in the process! :)

It is decidedly NOT a quick or simple fix. Joey has been trying, but unfortunately it hasn’t been his (or anyone else’s, read: reviewers) only priority.

I am encouraged, however, that within the last 3 weeks alone there have been 3 separate posts by Mozillians (none of whom are part of the current Build:Config peer group) about build system alternatives or how we could go about improving the system:

Management has also bought in, allowing all Build:Config peers some time each week to help with reviews for core Makefile cleanup.

The timing seems ripe to push hard on this, especially if we can enlist some of these other interested parties to help.

While looking for a place to put meeting notes for this effort (we had our first meeting on June 28th), I stumbled across BuildFaster, an effort which largely petered out late last year when the parties involved got distracted by more important things: native Fennec, b2g, colo moves, etc.

Fixing the Makefiles was a part of the initial BuildFaster effort, but because of the complexity involved, it was left as a longer-term goal. Rather than creating a tracking effort from scratch, I’ve decided to simply revive BuildFaster with a Makefile focus, and see where we go from there.

There’s lots more to report, but for now, consider this the official announcement of the Makefile effort that Joey and I will be spearheading under the BuildFaster umbrella. Look forward to more details soon.

Current Tunes: Above and Beyond - Trance Around The World 432 - 2012-07-06 | Filed under Build/Release, Mozilla |

One Reply

  1. This is great news! I’m very happy in particular to see that you might be picking up work on the GoFaster dashboard. Let me know if you need any help with that.


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