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tsb is the Transitive Source Builder.

It is designed to allow organizations, teams, and individuals to manage their builds of systems that may be shared with others.

There is a quickstart guide to getting going with tsb as well as a strategy guide for managing downstream repositories in general.

Usage: tsb [options] [commands]


  • tsb fetch acquires all the repositories for /src/.
  • tsb build builds the build branch, with patches applied.
  • tsb prebuild sets up the source repositories and performs all patching up to the point of building, but does not perform a build. After this step, running the services in docker-compose.yml with docker should produce the build artefacts.
  • tsb update fetches the latest updates and creates a new commit in the config repository. This will also fetch the latest updates in the subscribed branches and update the patch file's subscriptions.
  • tsb cherry {hash} cherry-picks {hash} and adds it to the patch file.
  • tsb subscribe {branch} subscribes to the given branch. The branch must be in the form {repoName}:{branchName}. The branch name must specify the name of the remote that the subscription should be pulled from (remoteName/branchName). The subscription is then added to the patch file.
  • tsb ls-cherry lists out the current list of cherry-picks, along with some basic information about them to help identify them.
  • tsb verbose and tsb quiet do nothing on their own, but set the output to be verbose and quiet, respectively. -v and -q are synonyms.
  • tsb cd {dir} does the same as tsb {dir}, except that it always cds, even if {dir} matches the name of a command.
  • tsb at {rev} causes commands that follow to pull data from that revision in source control. This functionality requires that the tsb directory be a git repository.
  • tsb {dir} changes directory into {dir}. This is useful for running tsb against a subdirectory.

Config Repository

tsb operates on a repository, not just a config file. The repository should have three .yml files at the root:


During builds, the source for each repository will be checked out to:


where {reponame} is the name of that repository in the repos file. The docker-compose.yml file will need to refer to these repositories or their contents by this path.

Builds will be expected to produce a list of artefacts in:


The repository will require additional files to support those files


The compose file may define any number of targets with any names, they will all be run as part of the build process. One or more dockerfiles may be referenced from here.

Source repositories will be in predictable locations as noted above (/src/{reponame}), so they can and should be mounted as volumes in the container. Build tasks should generally not modify the volumes directly, but rather copy them to a working directory if they might be modified by build tools.

Likewise, /dist/ should generally be mounted so that output files can be put there.


The dockerfile (referenced by the docker-compose.yml) should define the build environment. Generally, it should add a script that serves as the entrypoint for the build. It should not run the build directly via RUN instructions, since build states may be cached by docker.

The run script should copy artefacts and log files to the location in the container where /dist/ is mounted and return 0 iff the build was successful.


patches.yml is a YAML 1.2 file. It should be a list of whose members are hashes or branch subscriptions:

  - {changeset1}
  - branch: beta
      - {changesetA}
      - {changesetB}
  - {changeset2}

The hashes can refer to any changeset in any of the referenced sources. Each changeset will be cherry-picked, in order, to the head of the branch to be built.

The patches.yml file can be empty. Indeed, empty is the most desirable state, since that means building directly against the primary repository.

This file will not usually need to be modified manually. The tsb cherry, tsb subscribe and tsb update commands will safely modify this file.


repos.yml is a YAML 1.2 file. It should be an object with a member for each repository:

  branch: master
  head: 4817590950ca0b52d3336011a1abdbb6f906e23228c5857cc0f7703828f6966f
    - path:
      name: beta
  branch: lts-7.2

Each repository member object should have:

  • a src member, which provides the address whence to fetch the source repository;
  • a branch member, which defines the branch being tracked for builds;
  • a head member, which is an explicit changeset hash to build; and
  • an optional extra member, which is a list of extra source addresses that should be fetched in addition to the primary src. These list members can either be a string representation of the path or an object containing a name and a path. If a name is provided, the remote will be given that name when added.

When building, branch is ignored; head controls. branch is used to update head with tsb update.


A Transitive Source Builder for managing builds across multiple repositories





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