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Are you a student interested in contributing to a production-quality operating system by increasing its overall quality? If so, you have come to the right place! As you may already know, the Google Summer of Code 2014 program is on and FreeBSD has been accepted as a mentoring organization. As it so happens, I have a project idea that may sound interesting to you. During the last few months, we have been hard at work adding a standardized test suite to the FreeBSD upstream source tree as described in the TestSuite project page.
For the 6th year in a row, NetBSD is a mentoring organization for Google Summer of Code 2010! If you are a bright student willing to develop full-time for an open source project during this coming summer, consider applying with us! You will have a chance to work with very smart people and, most likely, in the area that you are most passionate about. NetBSD, being an operating system project, has offers for project ideas at all levels: from the kernel to the packaging system, passing by drivers, networking tools, user-space utilities, the system installer, automation tools and more!
The Google Summer of Code 2009 application deadline for students is tomorrow and NetBSD has got very few applications so far. If you have the interest in working on a cool operating system project, where almost any project idea can fit, take the time to read our proposals and apply! New, original ideas not listed there will also be considered. It'd be a pity if the number of assigned slots to NetBSD was small due to the low number of applications!
I am very happy to announce the availability of the 0.6 release of ATF. I have to apologize for this taking so long because the code has been mostly-ready for a while. However, doing the actual release procedure is painful. Testing the code in many different configurations to make sure it works, preparing the release files, uploading them, announcing the new release on multiple sites... not something I like doing often.
The Google SoC 2008 Mentor Summit is now officially over. The summit has taken place during the whole weekend and has been pretty intensive. The organization of the whole event has been excellent thanks to the hard work of Leslie Hawthorn among others; sorry, can't remember your names... I'm very bad at this. We have had multiple sessions, ranging from technical ones such as distributed version control systems to more political ones such as how to deal with assholes in open source projects.
I've landed this morning in San Francisco at 9.00am (which means I left NYC at 6.00am!) and went straight down to the Google Headquarters in Mountain View. No sleep at all except for a little bit of pseudo-sleep in the plane. The Google campus is really nice. It puts the NYC offices in an inferior level than I thought :P But the only problem is that the area surrounding the campus is basically empty.
Google has launched the Summer of Code program once again this year, and NetBSD is a mentoring organization for the fourth time as announced in a netbsd-announce post. Unless things go very wrong in the following days, I will not take part this year as a student because I will be intering at Google SRE during the Summer! However, I will try to become a mentor for the "Convert all remaining regression tests to ATF"
Reposting from the original ATF news entry: I have just updated the first preview of NetBSD-current release builds with ATF merged in to match the ATF 0.1 release published today. As already stated in the old news item: These will ease testing to the casual user who is interested in this project because he will not need to mess with patches to the NetBSD source tree nor rebuild a full release, which is a delicate and slow process.
Here go some statistics about what has been done during the SoC 2007 program as regards ATF: The repository weights at 293 revisions, 1,174 certificates (typically 4 per revision, but some revisions have more) and 221 files. This includes ATF, the patches to merge it into the NetBSD build tree and the website sources. (mtn db info will give you some more interesting details.) The clean sources of ATF 0.1 (not counting the files generated by the GNU autotools) take 948Kb and are 20,607 lines long (wow!
To conclude the development of ATF as part of SoC, I've released a 0.1 version coinciding with the coding deadline (later today). This clearly draws a line between what has been done during the SoC program and what will be done afterwards. See the official announcement for more details! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did working on it.
SoC's deadline is just five days away! I'm quite happy with the status of my project, ATF, but it will require a lot more work to be in a decent shape — i.e. ready to be imported into NetBSD — and there really is no time to get it done in five days. Furthermore, it is still to unstable (in the sense that it changes a lot) so importing it right now could cause a lot of grief to end users.
Reposting from the original ATF news entry: I have just uploaded some NetBSD-current release builds with ATF merged in. These will ease testing to the casual user who is interested in this project because he will not need to mess with patches to the NetBSD source tree nor rebuild a full release, which is a delicate and slow process. For the best experience, these releases are meant to be installed from scratch even though you can also do an upgrade of a current installation.
It has already been a week since the last SoC-related post, so I owe you an status report. Development has continued at a constant rate and, despite I work a lot on the project, it may seem to advance slowly from an external point of view. The thing is that getting the ATF core components complete and right is a tough job! Just look at the current and incomplete TODO list to see what I mean.
ATF is a program, and as happens with any application, it must be (automatically) tested to ensure it works according to its specifications. But as you already know, ATF is a testing framework so... is it possible to automatically test it? Can it test itself? Should it do it? The thing is: it can and it should, but things are not so simple. ATF can test itself because it is possible to define test programs through ATF to check the ATF tools and libraries.
While waiting for a NetBSD release build to finish, I've prepared the web site for ATF. It currently lacks information in a lot of areas, but the most important ones for now — the RSS feed for news and the Repository page — are quite complete. Hope you like it! Comments welcome, of course :-)
I've finally got at a point where I can start converting some of the current regression tests in the NetBSD tree to use the new ATF system. To prove this point, I've migrated all the tests that currently live in regress/bin to the new framework. They all now live in /usr/tests/util/. This has not been a trivial task — and it is not completely done yet, as there still are some rough edges — but I'm quite happy with the results.
This year, Google sent all the Summer of Code students the Producing Open Source Software: How to run a successful free software project book by Karl Fogel (ISBN 0-596-00759-0) as a welcome present. I've just finished reading it and I can say that it was a very nice read. The book is very easy to follow and is very complete: it covers areas such as the project's start-up, how to set things up for promoting it, how to behave in mailing lists, how to prepare releases, how to deal with volunteers or with paid developers, etc.
Just in time for the mid-term evaluation (well, with one day of delay), I've made the atf's source code public. This is possible thanks to the public and free monotone server run by Timothy Brownawell. It's nice to stay away from CVS ;-) See the How to get it section at the atf's page for more details on how to download the code from that server and how to trust it (it may take an hour or two for the section to appear).
SoC 2007's mid-term evaluation is around the corner. I have to present some code on June 9th. In fact, it'd be already public if we used a decent VCS instead of CVS, but for now I'll keep the sources in a local monotone database. We'll see how they'll be made public later on. Summarizing what has been done so far: I've already got a working prototype of the atf core functionality.
One of the key goals of atf is to let the end user — not only the developer — to easily run the tests after their corresponding application is installed. (In our case, application = NetBSD, but remember that atf also aims to be independent from NetBSD.) This also means, among other things, that the user must not need to have any development tool installed (the comp.tgz set) to run the tests, which rules out using make(1).
Today, I've attempted to build atf on a NetBSD 4.0_BETA2 system I've been setting up in a spare box I had around, as opposed to the Mac OS X system I'm using for daily development. The build failed due to some well-understood problems, but there was an annoying one with respect to some calls to the standard XPG basename(3) and dirname(3) functions. According to the Mac OS X manual pages for those functions, they are supposed to take a const char * argument.
Aside from the libraries I already mentioned in a past post, atf1 will also provide several tools to run the tests. An interesting part of the problem, though, is that many tests will be written in the POSIX shell language as that will be much easier than writing them in C or C++: the ability to rapidly prototype tests is a fundamental design goal; otherwise nobody could write them! However, providing two interfaces to the same framework (one in POSIX shell and one in C++) means that there could be a lot of code duplication in the two if not done properly.
I've already spent a bunch of time working on the packaging (as in what will end up in the .tar.gz distribution files) of atf even though it is still in very preliminary stages of development. This involved: Preparing a clean and nice build framework, which due to the tools I'm using meant writing the configure.ac and Makefile.am files. This involved adding some useful comments and, despite I'm familiar with these tools, re-reading part of the GNU Automake and GNU Autoconf manuals; this last step is something that many, many developers bypass and therefore end up with really messy scripts as if they weren't important.
The automated testing framework I'm working on is a project idea that has been around for a very long time. Back in SoC 2005, this project was selected but, unfortunately, it was not developed. A that time, the project was named regress, a name that was derived from the current name used in the NetBSD's source tree to group all available tests: the src/regress directory. In my opinion, the "regress" name was not very adequate because regression tests are just a kind of all possible tests: those that detect whether a feature that was supposed to be working has started to malfunction.
This weekend I have finally been able to start coding for my SoC project: the Automated Testing Framework for NetBSD. To my disliking, this has been delayed too much... but I was so busy with my PFC that I couldn't find any other chance to get my hands on it. I've started by working on two core components: libatf: The C/C++ library that will provide the interface to easily write test cases and test suites.
Yes, Google Summer of Code (SoC) 2007 is back and I'm in once again! This means I'll be able to spend another summer working on free software and deliver some useful contributions by the end of it. This time I sent just one proposal, choosing NetBSD as the mentoring organization. The project is entitled Automated testing framework and is mentored by Martin Husemann. This framework is something I've had in mind for a long time already; in fact, I also applied for this in SoC 2006 and attempted to develop this project as my undergraduate thesis.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen: Google Summer of Code 2007 is here and NetBSD is going to become a mentoring organization again (unless Google rejected the application, that is)! We are preparing a list of projects suitable for SoC; spend some time looking for one that interests you (I'm sure there is something) and get ready to send your proposal between the 14th and 24th of this same month. I've already made my choice :-)
One of SoC's most important goals is the introduction of students to the free software world; this way there are high chances that they will keep contributing even when SoC is over. Students already familiar with FOSS (as was my case both years) are also allowed to participate because they can seize the Summer to learn new stuff and improve their skills. As I expected, the development of Boost.Process has taught me multiple new things.
SoC 2006 is officially over — at least for me in my timezone. Given that the Subversion repository has some problems with public access, I've tagged the current sources as the first public version and uploaded a couple of tarballs to the Boost Vault. Both the tag and the tarballs will also serve historical purposes, specially when newer ones come ;-) You can download the archives from the Process directory in tar.
As everybody is not comfortable accessing Subversion repositories to download source code, I've posted two tarballs with Boost.Process' sources. They include an exported copy of the repository contents as well as prebuilt documentation in the libs/process/doc/html subdirectory. You can download the compressed archive either in tar.gz format or in ZIP. Keep in mind that these will be updated very frequently so please do not use them to prepackage the library.