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Can't find why my docker images digest are different when building from the exact same repo version

I’m running in a hell since I try to avoid deploying some unchanged container, and want to use the digest to detect an image is the same … but I can’t have those digest to be the same.

I’m building a dotnet app, out of the container, then I COPY this app and dependencies in the container in order to ship & deploy it.

This is the dockerfile, obviously the ARGuments sent are exactly the same


COPY . /app/.

Already verified :

  • the binaries are exactly the same (used container-diff to check this topic, then compared files from extracted folders in a diff/merged tool, i’m 100% sure)
  • Also set always same the creation/access/write time of the files and directories copied
  • Also set always same the creation/access/write time of the dockerfile itself

The image

   TAG                 IMAGE ID                                                                  CREATED              SIZE   
   test11              sha256:74b1558ea77c84bf980281082719973a6d14b1eed24c23d434e589bb5b77db4e   2 seconds ago        279MB  
   test10              sha256:2e8de287b201c415aa87fb4c06de95727d5e4474bc54c5ecfbf8e1697635e795   About a minute ago   279MB  

This is how I build it :

docker build --build-arg --build-arg PROJECT_NAME=My.Project.Name --file C:\_git\PROJECT\_.artifacts\app.dockerfile --force-rm --no-cache --tag C:\_git\PROJECT\_.artifacts\My.Project.Name

Please help …

Each time you build an image, at least the metadata that stores the create data for each image layer will differ. Seems like the digiest is not only calculated based on the payload itself…

See for yourself:
docker save test10 > test10.tar
docker save test11 > test11.tar
Extract both tar files to a distinct folder to unwrapp the image layer. Take a look at those files.

@meyay thank you.
So the only difference I can find really is a .tar datetime in the layer create on the COPY command

Buy using a multistage build and tricking the /app folder time, I finally have the layer.tar file exactly identicall between two builds. Now the layer manisfest json file is different because it brings a creation date with itself … does it use this date to compute the digest hash ?

The changes in the manifest.json were the only differences i could spot when building the same image two times in a row. Without taking a look at the sources, this will only remain guessing…

This is the json file comparison

And now once pushed on the registry, digets (and size! WTF !!) are differents while all the layers digests are same !

You might want to read this blog post:

After reading the blog post, I realized I used the wrog filename here. cough

Ok, by some tricks I finally managed to have the layers digests to be the same :

  • create all the files in an app folder
  • then touch all files in the host to have the exact always same dates
  • then COPY . .

I can now compare the layers digests and detect them to be the same, while the full image manifest is still differente, it’s enough for my needs today.

thanks a lot for your help @meyay