Note: The continuous integration tinderbox described on this page is currently not operational. Until or unless it is fixed, please see the Jenkins Tinderbox-style view instead.


This article describes the FreeBSD source tinderbox. To learn more about what it does, take a look at the current FreeBSD src build status.


The tinderbox ecosystem consists of:

The tinderbox scripts were developed (and are still maintained) by DagErlingSmørgrav. The original version was a shell script that ran on once a day, after one Alpha-breaking commit too many. It was replaced with the current Perl implementation in early 2003.

All scripts and configuration files are kept in base/user/des/tinderbox.

The tinderbox script

This section has not yet been written. See the tinderbox(1) manual page for details.

The tbmaster script

This section has not yet been written. See the tbmaster(1) manual page for details.

Configuration files

This section has not yet been written.

The index.cgi script

The index.cgi script generates the HTML summary. Although intended to be used as a CGI script (as the name indicates), it can also be run from the command line, or from a cron job, in which case it will look for logs in the directory in which the script itself is located. It will automatically detect the context, and output HTTP headers only if run as a CGI script.

The script outputs strict XHTML 1.0 code and uses CSS for styling.


The script's entry point is in the named block MAIN.

The script starts by attempting to verify that it is running on the official tinderbox web site. If it isn't, the page it produces will include text to that effect, and a link to the official site.

It then scans the log directory to get an inventory of configurations, branches and architectures for which log files exist, to avoid hard-coding a list into the script and potentially ending up with blank rows or columns. This information is derived from the names of the log files, which match the following pattern:


The configurations used on the official tinderbox build servers are named for the branches they build; for instance, the releng_6 configuration is used to build RELENG_6 as well as all still-supported release branches.

Once this has been determined, the script generates a prologue, calls do_config() for each configuration, and generates an epilogue.


The do_config() subroutine generates HTML code for a single tinderbox configuration.

It first generates a header row, then iterates over each branch build with this particular configuration, producing a single row of results for each in the following manner:


The success() subroutine scans a brief log file to determine whether the build was successful. This is done quite simply by searching for the string "tinderbox run completed".


Configurations and branches are sorted according to their branch rank, which is computed as follows:

In practical terms, this means that HEAD always ranks highest, and that RELENG branches are ranked in numerical order, with each STABLE branch ranking higher than the release branches forked off of it. For instance, for FreeBSD 6, the order will be, from highest-ranking to lowest-ranking:


The summary script uses CSS to apply different colors to each cell in the table. Successful builds are displayed with green text, failed builds with red text. The color fades as time passes since the corresponding build, with every half-hour bringing it one step closer to gray.

Official Build Servers

The official tinderbox build servers are hosted by Sentex Data Communications, who also host the FreeBSD netperf cluster.

There are currently three build servers:
  • HEAD for amd64, arm, i386, pc98, ia64, mips, powerpc, and sparc64; this takes about four hours.

  • RELENG_8 for amd64, arm, i386, pc98, ia64, mips, powerpc and sparc64; this takes about three and a half hours.
builds RELENG_7 and supported 7.x branches for amd64, i386, pc98, ia64, powerpc and sparc64; each branch takes about six hours.
builds RELENG_6 and supported 6.x branches for amd64, i386, pc98 and sparc64; each branch takes about three hours.

Official Summary Site

Summaries and logs from the official build servers are made available online at

Currently, this site is hosted by DagErlingSmørgrav. The site is set up as follows:

Future directions

Suggested improvements:

See LightMyFire for more information on this subject.

Tinderbox (last edited 2020-10-20T12:55:46+0000 by LiWenHsu)