What do rawhide testers want and expect?

darrell pfeifer darrellpf at gmail.com
Mon Sep 12 16:39:43 UTC 2011


On Mon, Sep 12, 2011 at 08:57, Stephen John Smoogen <smooge at gmail.com>wrote:

> In reading the long trash each other fest that accompanies pre-release
> jitters, could we start on a cleaner plate? What do the people who are
> using rawhide day-in/day-out expect out of the channel? What level of
> pain does someone like Jonathan Corbet expect and how can we better
> serve them? [And no this isnt me trying for another distro quote of
> the week, he is just my reference point of someone I know who runs
> rawhide day in and out.]
>
> In some cases, expectations may be off which means we need to market
> our deliverables better. In other cases, they may be looking for a
> better way to get attention to rawhide issues when everyone else is
> focused on F-XX-beta. In that case we can look at a mechanism that
> allows for less "zero-sum" game antics of elementary school yard "you
> suck, no you suck more" that the threads head towards.
>
>
Background

I've been doing daily updates from rawhide for the past 5+ years. Over the
last couple of years I've become a koji junkie, sometimes doing updates a
few times a day. I never run an actual release version of fedora.

Expectations

I recognize that fedora (and even more so rawhide) represent the latest in
software. I expect that when I run rawhide there will be many components
that are broken. As as "rawhide tester" I generally try to report packaging
and functionality problems as quickly as possible. There are occasional
issues that can cost me a great deal of time to work around, diagnose and
report.

I expect that package maintainers will do their best to keep a minimum of
breakage. I also expect that when a critical problem is discovered that they
will update their packages in a timely manner. I recognize that some of the
problems that I report might be interesting to me, but they may have a
limited impact and so may not be fixed quickly.

I generally have a backup plan that ensures that when breakage occurs I will
have a workaround or backout, or just live with the problem.

Commentary

I've never been much of a joiner or wanting to be part of an official
process. I have no interest in being a proven tester.

I'm surprised that the maintainers of the critical systems don't use the
pool of rawhide testers more to help them monitor the problem with packages.
It is common to see maintainers letting other maintainers know about
dependency updates, but it is rare to see a maintainer give a "heads-up" for
feedback about a package they are updating.

Summary

Rawhide isn't really all that broken and the state of the current processes
is actually quite good. People who use rawhide regularly learn to cope with
a certain amount of broken issues. The current state of testing for many
packages doesn't allow for updates to be error-free, so people who want more
stable systems should stick with one of the release versions.
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