Build Gaia Deterministically

Gitian is the deterministic build process that is used to build the Gaia executables. It provides a way to be reasonably sure that the executables are really built from the git source. It also makes sure that the same, tested dependencies are used and statically built into the executable.

Multiple developers build the source code by following a specific descriptor ("recipe"), cryptographically sign the result, and upload the resulting signature. These results are compared and only if they match, the build is accepted and provided for download.

More independent Gitian builders are needed, which is why this guide exists. It is preferred you follow these steps yourself instead of using someone else's VM image to avoid 'contaminating' the build.

This page contains all instructions required to build and sign reproducible Gaia binaries for Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows.


Make sure your system satisfy minimum requisites as outlined in

All the following instructions have been tested on Ubuntu 18.04.2 LTS with docker 18.06.1-ce and docker 18.09.6-ce.

If you are on Mac OS X, make sure you have prepended your PATH environment variable with GNU coreutils's path before running the build script:

export PATH=/usr/local/opt/coreutils/libexec/gnubin/:$PATH

Build and sign

Clone cosmos-sdk:

git clone

Checkout the commit, branch, or release tag you want to build:

cd gaia/
git checkout v0.35.0

Run the following command to launch a build for linux and sign the final build report (replace with the GPG identity you want to sign the report with):

./contrib/ -s linux

The above command generates two directories in the current working directory:

  • gitian-build-linux containing the gitian-builder clone used to drive the build process.
  • gaia.sigs containing the signed build report.

Replace linux in the above command with darwin or windows to run builds for Mac OS X and Windows respectively. Run the following command to build binaries for all platforms (darwin, linux, and windows):

cd gaia/ && ./contrib/ -s all

If you want to generate unsigned builds, just remove the option -s from the command line:

./cmd/gaia/contrib/ linux

At the end of the procedure, build results can be found in the ./gaia.sigs directory:

Please refer to the contrib/'s help screen for further information on its usage.

Signatures upload

Once signatures are generated, they could be uploaded to gaia's dedicated repository: The build script can take care of cloning the signatures repository and commit the signed result too:

./contrib/ -c -s all


Docker gitian-target container cannot be killed

The issue is due to a relatively recent kernel apparmor change, see here for more information on a potential mitigation for the issue.

On Ubuntu 18.04, when the container hangs and docker is unable to kill it you can try to use pkill to forcibly terminate containerd-shim:

sudo pkill containerd-shim
docker system prune