Automated testing of various security-oriented compilation flags for Arch Linux packages.
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test-sec-flags is a small collection of scripts intended to automate testing the performance impact of various security-oriented compilation and linking flags. The goal is to determine if the performance impact is small enough to allow for using these flags as the default flags for all Arch Linux packages.

Current Status

A huge thank you to everyone who contributed to this effort. As per Allan's post on the mailing list, we will be implementing these flags in Arch.

Please follow the mailing list for news on future developments.


  • git
  • coreutils

For the xz and unixbench test suites:

  • gcc Please take a look at the usage section

For ffmpeg:

For plotting:

  • python
  • matplotlib
  • numpy


Make sure that your $PATH does not contain any gcc wrappers like ccache or colorgcc before executing the test suites, as it may result in problems like unbounded loops. We highly recommend to use this test suite inside a clean chroot or a clean virtual machine image to avoid interfering setups.

  1. Download: git clone --recursive
  2. cd into the project directory: cd test-sec-flags
  3. Setup everything that is needed: make setup
  4. Run the script: ./test-<foo>

Run a specific test case:

  • Pass the test case number to the script: ./test-<foo> 8

Makefile overlay:

  • Invoke all tests of all suites: make
  • Invoke all test cases of a suite: make test-unixbench
  • Invoke specific test cases of a suite: make test-unixbench-5

Raw results from each test are output to results in a timestamped file. Summary results for other users can be viewed at Please add your results to the wiki as well, preferably maintaining the same format as the results already there.

To plot your results, compile the system summaries as per the formats in datasets/<user>[_<device].txt and run python <results file>.


If you encounter bugs, please open an issue on the bugtracker. Ensure that you have installed all of the necessary dependencies and makedeps, and that you are running this in a clean chroot or virtual machine.

Feature Requests and Enhancements

Feature requests and suggested enhancements should be added to

Expected Runtimes


On an i5-4440@3.1GHz, about 30-45 minutes per test, 4-6 hours total

On an Atom N450, about 1 hour per test, 8 hours total


On an i5-4440@3.1GHz, about 5 minutes per run, 40 minutes total

On an Atom N450, about 22 minutes per test, 3 hours total


On an i5-4440@3.1GHz, about 3 minutes per run, 20 minutes total

On an Atom N450, about 1 hour per run, 8 hours total