Meson and the changing Linux build landscape
2017-10-22, 12:15–12:55, Event Loft

The Meson build system has been picking up steam this year and many
fundamental projects have transitioned to it from their old build
systems. In this talk we shall look at the advantages and disadvantages these transitions have brought, what we can expect from the future of build systems and what effect this change may have on the larger Linux ecosystem.

The build system may seem like a simple and unimportant part of software development but it turns out to have implications that are both wide and deep. For example when Debian changed their package builds of systemd to use Meson, the build time on mips machines dropped from almost two hours to less than one. These sorts of changes enable workflows and process changes that simply were not possible or feasible with old tools.

In addition to single projects, this transition has wider implications for distros and other aggregate works. We shall look into some of these changes ranging from full distro rebuilds to the core dependencies and tooling needed to build a modern Linux distro and how that might change in the future.