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Re: Help requested: Packages which FTBFS randomly




On Mon, 20 Feb 2017 at 01:00:33 +0100, Santiago Vila wrote:
> Wait a moment. How we do define "common" when applied to a "build
> environment"?

Do we rely on it for Debian to function, or was it set up to determine
what works (e.g. for QA)? The former is common; the latter might not
be, and failing there is evidence of a possible RC bug but not
*necessarily* an RC bug itself.

Debian is an operating system, not an academic exercise. If a package
builds successfully reliably enough on buildds, porterboxes, and
developers' hardware or VMs that we can prepare security updates and
other urgent patches for it in a reasonable time, then it's close
enough.

Conversely, packages that don't work on Debian's buildds are likely to
be de facto unreleasable, even if they work fine on less problematic
hardware[1] or in "more realistic" build environments[2].

For packages that sometimes FTBFS due to intermittent test failures, I
for one would rather have the test coverage than not have it. We could
guarantee that no package will ever fail its build-time tests by not
running them, but having some packages intermittently fail to build
seems an acceptable price to pay for having a trivially easy way to
reject builds that are completely non-functional (for instance because
an upgraded dependency has broken their assumptions, or because they
happen to have hit toolchain bugs that produce broken binaries).

Unfortunately, tests are software too, which means the tests have bugs
just like the software under test does, and making them perfect is a
target to aim for rather than a realistic possibility. They still seem
like a good thing to have.

    S

[1] http://apebox.org/wordpress/linux/545
[2] https://wiki.debian.org/qa.debian.org/FTBFS#A2017-01-29_tzdata_and_lsb-base_no_longer_installed_in_build_chroots