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Re: Hardware compatibility test: draft proposal

Wouter Verhelst wrote:

> As I mentioned in my blog[1], I kindof like the suggestion that Bdale
> came up with during Debconf that we write a hardware compatibility test
> of sorts that hardware vendors could run on their own hardware

I think this is a great idea, and I generally agree with your decisions and

>   - Scripts should not just test for availability of hardware. Instead,
>     they should test the actual functionality; e.g., tests for a network
>     interface should be done by trying to DHCP off that interface, X.org
>     drivers should try to start X and ask for input using a graphical
>     dialog, and tests for a hard disk should be done by trying to read
>     some data from the disk.

I think this the most important paragraph of all.

What I think is missing is some really concrete info on just how various
hardware items would be tested. For example, in the case of ethernet
adaptors, I feel that simply successfully DHCP-ing on an interface is really
not an acceptable test.

As an example, Etch's kernel contains various modules (such as sky2) that
"kinda" work on today's hardware - whilst the driver would probably pass a
DHCP test, the actual performance or reliability of the device is completely
inadequate. Wireless devices would pose an even more difficult problem, as
support for the various encryption modes that the device supports tend to be
developed at different times, etc.

(I'm fairly confident these comments have parallels with other hardware
categories, I just give networking examples that most readers might be able
to relate to)

Whilst I am aware that a testsuite could never be 100% conclusive (and I'm
sure you are aware too) my underlying enquiry here is trying to work out
what level of confidence you are aiming for.

(Hm, this didn't mean to be so negative..)

> - A Debian Live image will be provided that will install the
>   'debian-hct' package plus all packages that say 'Provides:
>   hardware-compatibility-test' plus all their dependencies. This will be
>   the hardware compatibility test that we can give to vendors.

Please let me know if you would like any help with Live image foo.


Chris Lamb, UK                                       chris@chris-lamb.co.uk
                                                            GPG: 0x634F9A20

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