Proposal for faster sbt launch times and more stable plugin ecosystem
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sbt-big: faster and more stable sbt

This project is a proposal to create a new module in sbt/sbt called sbt-big that is a fat jar with all sbt dependencies shaded under an internal namespace. By updating the sbt launcher to use org.scala-sbt:sbt-big instead of org.scala-sbt:sbt, we gain

  • faster startup time, by making the launcher download 1 fat jar containing all dependencies instead of resolving and downloading 71 jars for dependencies. This speedup should be particularly noticable in clean CI and docker environments and from locations with high latency such as Asia or Australia.
  • more stable binary compatibility, by shading sbt dependencies under the sbt.internal.* package so that sbt plugins don't conflict with the sbt boot classpath. See sbt/zinc#546 for an example issue. By using sbt-big, the sbt project is safe to upgrade to the latest versions of its dependencies without breaking the sbt plugin ecosystem.

To try out sbt-big locally,

git clone
cd sbt-big
sbt publishM2

What happens during publish is that:

  • sbt-assembly includes the full dependency tree of sbt
$ du -h $HOME/.m2/repository/org/scala-sbt/sbt-big/1.1.0/sbt-big-1.1.0.jar
 21M    /Users/ollie/.m2/repository/org/scala-sbt/sbt-big/1.1.0/sbt-big-1.1.0.jar
  • the published artifact contains 0 dependencies
$ cat $HOME/.m2/repository/org/scala-sbt/sbt-big/1.1.0/sbt-big-1.1.0.pom/sbt-big-1.1.0.pom | grep dependencies
  <!--the dependency that was here has been absorbed via sbt-assembly-->
  <!--the dependency that was here has been absorbed via sbt-assembly-->
  • the fastparse dependency has been shaded into the sbt.internal.fastparse package
$ jar tf $HOME/.m2/repository/org/scala-sbt/sbt-big/1.1.0/sbt-big-1.1.0.jar | grep fastparse | head