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Re: Auto reject if autopkgtest of reverse dependencies fail or cause FTBFS

Paul Gevers writes ("Re: Auto reject if autopkgtest of reverse dependencies fail or cause FTBFS"):
> On 01/13/17 21:05, Ole Streicher wrote:
> > Simon McVittie <smcv@debian.org> writes:
> >> On Fri, 13 Jan 2017 at 18:22:53 +0000, Ian Jackson wrote:
> >>> Maybe an intermediate position would be to respond to a CI failure by:
> >>>  * Increasing the migration delay for the affecting package
> I like this and will suggest it to the release team. Especially for the
> start up time.

I definitely think we should start with this.  It provides a good
incentive to add tests to one's package: namely, advance notice of
problems which occur with newer dependencies.

But there are a lot of things that I think we are going to have to
work out.  Some of them have been mentioned in this thread.

At the moment we (Debian) 1. have very little experience of how
autopkgtests will work in practice 2. haven't really tackled any of
the social questions.  The Ubuntu experience is valuable for (1) but
Ubuntu has a very different social structure, so doesn't tell us much
about (2).

Questions which will come to the fore include: if a new version of a
core package A breaks an "unimportant" leaf package B, such that B
becomes RC-buggy, is that an RC bug in A ?  The only coherent answer
is "yes" but if B is just "too wrong" or unfixable, at some point
something will have to give.  I think our social structures will come
under some additional strain.

> One can always file bug reports against the release.debian.org pseudo
> package to ask for britney to ignore the autopkgtest result.

I think that if autopkgtests are a success, there will be far too much
of this for the release team to be involved in first-line response.

Since the autopkgtests are controlled by the depending package, I
suggest that there should be a way for the depending package
maintainer to provide this information and control the way the tests
affect migrations.

The information would want to be kept outside the depending package's
source tree, but rather in some kind of management system, because
uploads are disruptive in this context.  We could use the BTS: one way
would be for the autopkgtest analyser to look for a bug with a new
kind of tag "this bug causes broken tests".  Ideally there would be a
way to specify the specific failing tests.

If the bug is actually in the dep package, but the maintainer of the
rdep with the failing tests wants it not to block migration of the
dep, they would still file a bug against the rdep and mark it blocked
in the bts by the bug in the dep.

This way our existing rule that the maintainer of a packgae is (at
least in the first instance) in charge of the bugs against their
package extends naturally to giving the rdep first instance control
over migration of deps which cause test failures.

That is consistent with the principle of providing an incentive for
adding tests.  It also provides a way to work around broken tests that
is not throwing the package out of the release.  That is very
important because otherwise adding tests is a risky move: your package
might be removed from testing as a result of your excess of zeal.

The release team would become involved if the dep maintainer and the
the rdep maintainer disagree.  Ie, if the dep maintainer wants such a
"broken test" bug to exist, and the rdep maintainer wants not, then
the rdep maintainer would ask release@.  The existing principle that
the release team are the first escalation point for disagreements
about testing migration (currently, RC bug severity) extends naturally
to this case.

> > What is the reason not to use automated bug reports here? This would
> > allow to use all the tools the bug system has: severities, reassigning
> > closing etc.

The difficulty with automated bug reports is this: how do you tell
whether something is the same bug or not ?

If you're not careful, a test which fails 50% of the time will result
in an endless stream of new bugs from the CI system which then get

(If there are bugs, we want them to auto-close because no matter how
hard we try, test failures due to "weather" will always occur some of
the time.  Closing such bugs by hand would be annoying.)


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