Do you know how to make yoghurt? The first step is to add yoghurt to milk! How can you build a compiler like GCC? The first step is to get a compiler that can compile the compiler.

Compilers are often written in the language they are compiling. This creates a chicken-and-egg problem that leads users and distributors to rely on opaque, pre-built binaries of those compilers that they use to build newer versions of the compiler.

To gain trust in our computing platforms, we need to be able to tell how each part was produced from source. We believe that opaque binaries are a threat to user security and user freedom since they are not auditable; our goal is to minimize the amount of bootstrap binaries.


This is nice, but what are the actual benefits of “bootstrappable” implementations? Find out what additional benefits there are to achieving bootstrappable builds.

Best practices

Are you developing or contributing to software that is affected by the bootstrapping problem? Here we list best practices and practical examples that can help you pull yourself up by your own bootstraps.

Collaboration projects

Solving bootstrapping problems in existing compilers and build systems requires collaboration. Here is a list of long-term high-impact projects that we would like to work on collaboratively.

More projects and status updates can be found on the bootstrapping wiki.

Join the mailing list and/or the IRC channel #bootstrappable on for news and communication!

Further reading