alchemist: Introduce MaybePackageDetails

This patch follows the same pattern as MaybeEBuildMetadata: introduces
an enum that allows interleaving success/failure cases of package
loading and differentiating them statically at the same time.

While this new enum allows us cleaning up a few logic, this patch
focuses on introducing it with minimal changes.

This is a pure refactoring and not supposed to change any behavior.

TEST=bazel test //bazel/portage/bin/alchemist:all

Change-Id: Ie0d1396c7a068b697b3e404aa8dcd287465a0b3e
Reviewed-by: Maksim Ivanov <>
Tested-by: Shuhei Takahashi <>
Commit-Queue: Shuhei Takahashi <>
7 files changed
tree: 06e69add18d0bab8b0909b4c403d0791fc0b7531
  1. bash/
  2. bazelrcs/
  3. build_defs/
  4. cc/
  5. cros_pkg/
  6. go/
  7. module_extensions/
  8. platforms/
  9. portage/
  10. python/
  11. repo_defs/
  12. rust/
  13. transitions/
  14. workspace_root/
  15. .gitignore
  16. BUILD.bazel
  17. Cargo.lock
  18. Cargo.toml
  21. go.mod
  22. go.sum
  23. OWNERS
  24. OWNERS.clover
  25. PRESUBMIT.cfg

ChromeOS Bazelification

This repository provides the implementation to build ChromeOS with Bazel.

Checking out

For building ChromeOS with Bazel, use the following repo command to check out with a few additional repositories.

$ mkdir ~/chromiumos
$ cd ~/chromiumos
# If you have access to the internal manifests:
$ repo init -u -g default,bazel -b snapshot
# Otherwise:
$ repo init -u -g default,bazel -b snapshot
$ repo sync -c -j 16
$ cd src
  • -g default,bazel is important to check out some additional repositories needed to build with Bazel.
  • We use the snapshot branch rather than main because Bazel‘s caching logic requires all inputs to match exactly, so you’re better off working from the snapshot branch that was already built by the Snapshot/CQ builders rather than working from main and picking up whatever commit happened to be at ToT at the time you ran repo sync. You‘ll be at most 40 minutes behind ToT, and you’ll have the best chance of getting cache hits to speed your builds.
  • It's safe to run the repo init command atop an existing checkout.

Unless otherwise specified, examples in this doc assume that your current directory is ~/chromiumos/src.

Building packages

We support two configurations to build ChromeOS with Bazel:

  1. Run Bazel inside the CrOS SDK chroot (recommended).
  2. Run Bazel outside the CrOS SDK chroot.

Run Bazel inside the CrOS SDK chroot

This is the current recommended way. It is mostly compatible with the current Portage-based build: Bazel honors Portage‘s site-specific configurations in /etc/portage in the chroot, including cros workon states of packages. Also, this is the only way you’re going to get remote cache hits right now. On the other hand, you still need to set up a CrOS SDK chroot.

First, enter the CrOS SDK chroot with cros_sdk command, which will create a new one if you haven't already. Then run the following command to create the amd64-host sysroot.

(cr) $ /mnt/host/source/src/scripts/create_sdk_board_root --board amd64-host --profile sdk/bootstrap

This will create /build/amd64-host. This sysroot contains the Portage configuration that is used when building host tool packages. i.e., CBUILD.

You can then proceed to create the target board's sysroot:

(cr) $ setup_board --board amd64-generic --public --skip-chroot-upgrade --skip-toolchain-update

If you're attempting to build a public image while using an internal manifest, the --public flag allows you to do that, which is useful when attempting to recreate a CQ/Snapshot failure for build targets that use public manifests on the CI bots, such as amd64-generic. Omit the flag if you do want to build internal packages.

Now that you have configured your chroot, you can invoke a build with the standard cros build-packages command, except that you need to pass the extra option --bazel to build with Bazel.

To build a single Portage package, e.g. sys-apps/attr:

$ cros build-packages --board=amd64-generic --bazel sys-apps/attr

To build all packages included in the ChromeOS test image:

$ cros build-packages --board=amd64-generic --bazel

Upon successful completion, packages are installed to the sysroot inside the CrOS SDK chroot.

Alternatively, you can run Bazel directly inside the CrOS SDK chroot to build specific targets, except that you need to use /mnt/host/source/chromite/bin/bazel instead of /usr/bin/bazel. Read the following section to see how to specify build targets.

Run Bazel outside the CrOS SDK chroot

This is an experimental way. It works without setting up the CrOS SDK chroot. cros workon states in the CrOS SDK chroot are ignored even if they exist, and the live (9999) version of packages (if they exist and are not marked as CROS_WORKON_MANUAL_UPREV) will be chosen by default. This means you can edit your source code and feel confident that the correct packages are getting rebuilt, though it might cause some build issues when live ebuilds are not prepared for Bazel builds. Note that you'll get no remote cache hits from CI builds today.

Before you start building a package you need to ensure that which bazel prints a path under your depot_tools checkout. The wrapper script provided by depot_tools performs additional tasks besides running the real bazel executable.

The syntax for specifying a Portage package is:


host means the build host (CBUILD), and target means the cross-compiled target (CHOST) specified by the BOARD environment variable.

Now you're ready to start building. To build a single Portage package, e.g. sys-apps/attr:

$ BOARD=amd64-generic bazel build @portage//target/sys-apps/attr

To build all packages included in the ChromeOS base image:

$ BOARD=amd64-generic bazel build @portage//target/virtual/target-os:package_set

A package_set is a special target that also includes the target's PDEPENDs.

To build a package for the host, use the host prefix:

$ BOARD=amd64-generic bazel build @portage//host/app-shells/bash

To build all packages included in the ChromeOS test image:

$ BOARD=amd64-generic bazel build @portage//target/virtual/target-os:package_set @portage//target/virtual/target-os-dev:package_set @portage//target/virtual/target-os-test:package_set

Building images

When you run Bazel inside the CrOS SDK chroot, you can simply use the standard cros build-image command to build ChromeOS images.

The rest of the section describes the very experimental way to build ChromeOS images under Bazel outside the CrOS SDK chroot.

As of Oct 2023, we don't actively test building ChromeOS images under Bazel due to priority reasons. You can try the following instruction, but it may fail.

We have the following targets to build images:

  • @portage//images:chromiumos_minimal_image: Minimal image that contains sys-apps/baselayout and sys-kernel/chromeos-kernel only.
  • @portage//images:chromiumos_base_image: Base image.
  • @portage//images:chromiumos_dev_image: Dev image.
  • @portage//images:chromiumos_test_image: Test image.
For historical reasons, the output file name of the dev image is chromiumos_image.bin, not chromiumos_dev_image.bin.

Building a ChromeOS image takes several hours. Most packages build in a few minutes, but there are several known heavy packages, such as chromeos-base/chromeos-chrome that takes 2-3 hours. You can inject prebuilt binary packages to bypass building those packages. See Injecting prebuilt binary packages for more details. To make chromeos-base/chromeos-chrome build faster, you can also use Goma.

After building an image, you can use cros_vm command available in CrOS SDK to run a VM locally. Make sure to copy an image out from bazel-bin as it's not writable by default.

$ cp bazel-bin/external/_main~portage~portage/images/chromiumos_base_image.bin /tmp/
$ chmod +w /tmp/chromiumos_base_image.bin
$ chromite/bin/cros_vm --start --board=amd64-generic --image-path /tmp/chromiumos_base_image.bin

You can use VNC viewer to view the VM.

$ vncviewer localhost:5900

You can also use cros_vm command to stop the VM.

$ chromite/bin/cros_vm --stop

Advanced information

Enabling @portage tab completion

By default you can‘t tab complete the @portage// repository. This is because bazel doesn’t provide support for tab completing external repositories. By setting export ENABLE_PORTAGE_TAB_COMPLETION=1 in your .bashrc/.profile, bazel will create a @portage symlink in the workspace root (i.e., ~/chromiumos/src). This allows the bazel tab completion to work, but comes with one caveat. You can no longer run bazel build //... because it will generate analysis errors. This is why this flag is not enabled by default.

The @portage symlink has another added benefit, you can easily browse the generated BUILD.bazel files.

Testing your change

The script runs currently available tests:

$ portage/tools/

Optionally, you can skip running some tests by specifying some of the following environment variables when running SKIP_CARGO_TESTS=1, SKIP_BAZEL_TESTS=1, SKIP_PORTAGE_TESTS=1.


Bad cache results when non-hermetic inputs change

Bazel is able to correctly reuse content from the cache when all inputs are identified to it so it can detect when they change. Since our toolchain and our host tools (e.g. gsutil) are not yet fully hermetic, it‘s possible that you’ll run into problems when tools not yet tracked by Bazel are updated. In these situations we've found it useful to run bazel clean --expunge to clear cached artifacts that seem not to be cleared without the --expunge flag.

If you find you need the --expunge flag, please file a bug to let the Bazelification team know about the non-hermeticity so we can fix the problem.

Directory structure

  • portage/ ... for building Portage packages (aka Alchemy)
    • bin/ ... executables
    • common/ ... common Rust/Go libraries
    • build_defs/ ... build rule definitions in Starlark
    • repo_defs/ ... additional repository definitions
      • prebuilts/ ... defines prebuilt binaries
    • sdk/ ... defines the base SDK
    • tools/ ... misc small tools for development
  • workspace_root/ ... contains various files to be symlinked to the workspace root, including WORKSPACE.bazel and BUILD.bazel

Misc Memo

Bazel remote caching with RBE

You can speed up the build by enabling remote Bazel caching with RBE. To do this, follow this instruction to authenticate.

After authentication, make sure that you restart the Bazel instance by running bazel shutdown.

Debugging a failing package

Sometimes you want to enter an ephemeral CrOS chroot where a package build is failing to inspect the environment interactively.

To enter an ephemeral CrOS chroot, run the following command:

$ BOARD=arm64-generic bazel run @portage//target/sys-apps/attr:debug -- --login=after

This command will give you an interactive shell after building a package. You can also specify other values to --login to choose the timing to enter an interactive console:

  • --login=before: before building the package
  • --login=after: after building the package (default)
  • --login=after-fail: after failing to build the package

Using Goma to build Chrome

Building chromeos-base/chromeos-chrome takes 2-3 hours, but you can use Goma to make it as fast as less than 1 hour.

To use Goma, please follow Goma for Chromium contributors (or go/chrome-linux-build if you‘re a Googler) and run goma_auth login for authentication. Please make sure that you perform authentication inside the chroot if you’re going to run bazel build inside the chroot, and do that outside the chroot if you're going to run it outside the chroot.

After authentication, you can just run bazel build with USE_GOMA=true to enable Goma.

$ USE_GOMA=true BOARD=amd64-generic bazel build @portage//chromeos-base/chromeos-chrome

You can also run build_packages with --run-goma to run it with Goma.

$ build_packages --bazel --board=amd64-generic --run-goma

Injecting prebuilt binary packages

In the case your work is blocked by some package build failures, you can workaround them by injecting prebuilt binary packages via command line flags.

For every ebuild target under @portage//internal/packages/..., an associated string flag target is defined. You can set a gs:// URL of a prebuilt binary package to inject it.

For example, to inject a prebuilt binary packages for chromeos-chrome, you can set this option:


You can run to generate the prebuilt config for the current version of chromeos-chrome.

% BOARD=amd64-generic portage/tools/

When performing changes to eclasses, build_packages, chromite or other things that cache bust large parts of the graph, it might be beneficial to pin the binary packages for already built packages so you don't need to rebuild them when iterating on your changes. You can use the generate-stage2-prebuilts script to do this:

$ BOARD=amd64-generic ./bazel/portage/tools/generate-stage2-prebuilts

This will scan your bazel-bin directory for any existing binpkgs and copy them to ~/.cache/binpkgs. It will then generate a prebuilts.bazelrc that contains various --config options. The prebuilts.bazelrc is invalid after you repo sync since it contains package version numbers. Just re-run the script after a repo sync to regenerate the prebuilts.bazelrc and it will pin the packages with versions that still exist in your bazel-bin.

Running a build with pinned packages:

$ BOARD=amd64-generic bazel build --config=prebuilts/stage2-board-sdk @portage//target/sys-apps/attr

Extracting binary packages

In case you need to extract the contents of a binary package so you can easily inspect it, you can use the xpak split CLI.

bazel run //bazel/portage/bin/xpak:xpak -- split --extract libffi-3.1-r8.tbz2 libusb-0-r2.tbz2

Running tests on every local commit

If you'd like to run the tests every time you commit, add the following. You can skip it with git commit --no-verify.

cd ~/chromiumos/src/bazel
ln -s ../../../../../src/bazel/portage/tools/ .git/hooks/pre-commit