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Automatic testing of Debian packages


I am writing this email as I think there could be done more to
automatically test Debian packages. This would improve quality, as
discovering errors is the first step in correcting them. I am not a
Debian maintainer, but have been using Debian for 4+ years. As I am not
an insider, I am likely to overlook some relevant information and I
would be happy if people will correct me.

I have looked at the Debian homepage to investigate what kind of
auto-testing are performed. I found the auto-builder network
(http://www.nl.debian.org/devel/buildd/), Lintian
(http://packages.debian.org/unstable/devel/lintian) and Pbuilder

The above mentioned software seems to test whether packages will compile
or not. Furthermore, the software testes if packages comply by Debian
policy. However, I would think that more could be done. It would be nice
if packages were automatically tested under different setups, like
language settings or other things that may affect a package. Also each
package maintainer could supply a script which should test if the
package ran properly. This script could then be run automatically on
different architectures and setups (langauge settings and different
settings for packages which the tested package depends upon).

Do there exist, any other kind of automatic tests that I have not
mentioned here?

Anything else I have missed?

Which errors are typical for Debian packages? This is important as
certain kinds of error will properly newer be caught automatically.

Any other comments would also be appreciated.

Mads Lindstrm

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