The software packaging and distribution activity and working group addresses common issues, tools, and approaches to building and distributing the software stacks used by HEP experiments.

The group is currently convened by Ben Morgan (Warwick) and Graeme Stewart (CERN), who took over from Liz Sexton-Kennedy (FNAL) and Benedikt Hegner (CERN) in October 2017.

Getting Involved

Everyone is welcome to participate and contribute on the forum and to the ongoing meetings:


The aim of this working group is to foster communication and exchange among the experiments’ librarians. We have identified various topics to work on, including

  1. Common build recipes and tools
  2. How to take most advantage of technologies like containers
  3. Proper support for developers in our collaborations

Group Activities to Date

Software development in high energy physics follows the paradigm of open source software (OSS). Experiments as well as the theory community heavily rely on software being developed outside of the field. Creating a consistent and working stack out of 100s of packages, on a variety of platforms is a non-trivial task. Within the field multiple technical solutions exist to configure and build those stacks. None of this work is experiment specific and our working group agrees that this effort is being duplicated.

We held an initial series of meetings to look at the existing build and packaging solutions, including the community-driven projects. Some of the tools looked at are listed below.

That initial work was summarised in a Technical note on Build Tools in March 2016.

Since then the group has been meeting to re-examine changes in the field and to have more of a focus on deployment and end user development issues.

This resulted in the writing of

The group is currently working on the evaluation of different tools, making use of Docker containers to allow non-experts in a particular tool to rapidly evaluate each tool for features, ease of use and flexibility.

Documentation for these test drive setups is in the group’s GitHib repository.


Build Tools

HEP Specific Build Tools

General Open Source Build Tools

Existing build recipes

Other resources