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Re: Bits from the Release Team (Jessie freeze info)

Hi Niels,

This was quite interesting as it seems to tie in with some other
projects that are already being pursued...

On 21/10/13 16:42, Niels Thykier wrote:
> I would love for us to have an automated system to give us a
> "weather-report" on the toolchain for each architecture.  It would be
> nice both for us to see how ports are doing and for porters to spot and
> fix problems early.

That sounds a lot like the purpose of Jenkins[0], but I'm not sure if
it's exactly suitable.  It seems a little heavy, that someone could more
easily be able to script some cron jobs for a task than learn how to use it.

And Jenkins isn't available yet on all arches;  some ports may not have
hardware powerful enough to run it.  Maybe that doesn't matter - a
single Jenkins instance might be able to launch jobs via remote shells
to other boxes, running the actual test suite there, or maybe just to
fetch, analyse and report on the resulting log files.

Ideally I'd like to see a set of command-line scripts runnable either
from cron, or maybe someday by Jenkins jobs if someone wants to set that
up.  And packaged up for people to use at home!

[0]: http://jenkins.debian.net/

> Which implies "a set of packages" being "the current version of the
> overwhelming part of the archive" plus all of d-i.  However, that is not
> something you "just build", so having a smaller set as a basic test
> would probably be way more useful.  I am not aware of such a "basic test
> set", so feel free to propose one.

Some people have been trying to identify small sets of essential
packages already, in the context of bootstrapping an architecture[1].  I
wonder if that's likely to overlap with this?  It encompasses toolchain
and essential arch-specific packages.

I imagine a healthy port should be able to bootstrap itself with only
current package versions.  If this was being tested regularly it could
let porters know if circular dependencies are introduced, for example.

[1]: https://wiki.debian.org/DebianBootstrap#Toolchain

I would maybe take that a little further and say that a system is only
stable if it can bootstrap itself, install and boot into the resulting
system, and repeat the whole process again...

> I like the "toolchain nightly" thing as well. I don't think it is
> "required", but it sounds like the kind of thing that would help people
> spot issues sooner rather than later!

And this also ties in with the reproducible-builds project[2] (not sure
if you were hinting at that before).  The 'toolchain' is of particular
concern because the security of the whole system depends on it.
Differences in the output of builds needs to be avoided, or otherwise
explained.  It would help greatly if there were frequent builds
happening so we could see unexpected changes occurring.

[2]: https://wiki.debian.org/ReproducibleBuilds

So if something can make something that fulfills all the above goals it
would certainly be beneficial :)

Steven Chamberlain

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