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Re: Upcoming FTPMaster meeting

On Sat, Feb 12, 2011 at 07:37:55PM +0000, Lars Wirzenius wrote:
> On la, 2011-02-12 at 20:22 +0100, Bernhard R. Link wrote:
> > If the packages used are only ever built in unnatural virgin
> > environments, there is basically no testing if building them on
> > a real user machine works. And things not tested usually just stop
> > working after some time...
> Right now, such testing of such build environments is pretty haphazard
> already. Developers presumably build things with debuild on their
> development machines, but that's a very small test.
> If we wanted to be serious about this, it would be nice for someone to
> set up a maximal build chroot: something with as many packages installed
> as possible. Then do test builds of all packages, and report problems.
> (Then upgrade the chroot, install as many new packages as possible, and
> rebuild everything. Repeat forever.)
> On the other hand, I don't see that this is all that important. Most
> packages will build fine in a dirty environment, and if there's trouble,
> users can report problems, and then they can get fixed. Meanwhile,
> having uniform, known build environments is good for reproducing builds,
> and that should be good for reproducing some bugs.

The other side to this is that fixing such bugs gains us very litle.

If we have a guaranteed clean build environment + package build deps,
we have as complete consistency as is practicable.

If we have a random build environment + package build deps, we might
occasionally find something that needs a build-conflict, but we are
never going to get complete coverage, and we aren't even considering
that the conflicts might get outdated as the system evolves, and they
will bitrot and potentially cause more problems down the line.

The former situation is simple, robust and maintainable.  But the
latter, it's a virtually intractable problem, and given the lack of
concern about it up to now, it's not a major worry for most people,
and from a cost/benefit POV it doesn't look practical.


  .''`.  Roger Leigh
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