[$] Merkle trees and build systems

In traditional build tools like Make, targets and dependencies are always files. Imagine if you could specify an entire tree (directory) as a dependency: You could exhaustively specify a “build root” filesystem containing the toolchain used for building some target as a dependency of that target. Similarly, a rule that creates that build root would have the tree as its target. Using Merkle trees as first-class citizens in a build system gives great flexibility and many optimization opportunities. In this article, guest author David Röthlisberger explores this idea using OSTree, Ninja, and Python.

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