another upgrade, another disaster

Neal Becker ndbecker2 at
Thu May 31 19:08:54 UTC 2012

Adam Williamson wrote:

> On Tue, 2012-05-29 at 16:50 -0400, Tom Callaway wrote:
>> On 05/29/2012 04:46 PM, Corey Richardson wrote:
>> > I've heard nothing but bad things about preupgrade from lots of people,
>> > and I've heard the developers either never hear about it, ignore it, or
>> > don't care. I tried a preupgrade and it half-succeeded, I had to fix
>> > the initramfs and a few other things afterwards though. IMO, it isn't
>> > worth the pain.
>> We do test preupgrade as part of the pre-release testing. The problem is
>> that people do all sorts of wacky things to their systems that cause it
>> to not work well. I'm sure that QA would love to have more people
>> testing preupgrade during the beta->RC window.
>> So, your statement that devs don't care isn't valid. It may still not be
>> worth the pain, depending on how much you have installed outside of the
>> Fedora Package universe.
> Not entirely valid, but if we're being completely honest, there is only
> one preupgrade maintainer - hughsie - and he has a couple of other
> full-time jobs. So I think it's fair to say it doesn't get as much
> active maintenance as it might. The preupgrade bug list is quite long -
> 127 bugs, - and I know for a
> fact it contains quite a few valid reports which could be fixed
> by...development.
> Your broader point is of course also true. upgrading is a fundamentally
> unsupportable operation: the amount of variables in play when it comes
> to upgrading a system which a person has been using, normally, for some
> time is so huge as to be probably incalculable. What we test in a
> programmed way is that you can do a clean installation of F16, update it
> to current packages, then run 'preupgrade' and wind up with an F17
> system that boots. That is the extent of the preupgrade validation
> testing. Any further testing relies on people trying it and filing bugs,
> as Tom says.
> The particular failure scenario involved here - 'user let
> SOME_THIRD_PARTY_THING screw up RPM-managed files' - is obviously quite
> a long way down the list of things we're going to care about. There has
> to be a limit to what we can achieve with the resources available to a
> project like Fedora. We don't have a 2,000 system test lab stashed away
> somewhere with a few hundred people in it running upgrade tests in
> various arbitrary scenarios, 24 hours a day. We just don't. All we can
> do is ask people to test and file bugs prior to release, and I think we
> certainly do enough of that...

But we can, and should, at least try to make our systems tolerant of failures.  
Just because we can't test everything.  Defensive programming.

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