25 Oct 2011

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openSUSE News: Help out with testing at openSUSE

One of the most important activities during software development is testing. In FOSS community, software often gets tested by the developers themselves, other developers and volunteers. During the openSUSE 12.1 development process it has been important to keep Factory working properly. Testing this is however a rather boring, repetitive task: the tester has to boot up a Factory ISO as often as possible and check if the basic applications start up and work. We don't like boring tasks so the openSUSE Project has been using the automated testing framework openQA to test this release daily!

This article explains how openQA works and how you can help keep Factory working! We'll also give some links to more information about testing to help new testers learn the trade but also give experienced testers some new tips and insights!

Development Cycle

Testing is generally done on the latest development release, with additional testing sometimes done using updates from Factory to verify bug fixes. Everything in Factory is passed through our automated test framework openQA. You can read more about openQA an the announcement openSUSE News. openQA is a great test suite and is capable of producing videos of the whole process and also screenshots. This greatly reduces the overhead for the testers. An overview of the test results can be found here.

Using openQA

Reporting Bugs

openQA can be used both for bug reporting and bug triaging. To find and report bugs using openQA just visit the openQA test result page, browse through the web interface and look for failed tests. Click on the corresponding tests, to view the results. If your copy of openSUSE is different from the version that has been tested at openqa but you want to/need to do additional testing, fire up your vm and install the version openQA used (or a newer one). You can check for bugs in the tests that have not been autochecked and also look for hardware related (note that in this case you will need to install it on your system instead of a vm) and other possible bugs that openQA might have missed. If you find a bug, report the bug to our testing team or file the bug yourself. Be sure to make good use of the openSUSE Testing documentation at the Testing portal, the Bug report how-to and read the Bug Reporting F.A.Q!

Triaging Bugs

Bernhard, the author of openQA has come out with a nice web interface for bug triagers to make them easier to browse through bugs. The web interface provides with a list of some random bugs. If you are interested ino a scpecific component, then you can use the search bar and look for them. Once you have a random list of bugs that may interest you, you mark a bug as taken. This will reserve the bug. Now fix the bug and update the bugzilla accordingly to get more info or mark it as fixed. While the real triaging is still left for the developers to do, the web interface makes it easierfor them to find bugs..

Adding tests to openQA

An important part of openQA are of course the tests themselves. The more tests are written the more openQA can cover. Tweaking preexisting tests or creating new tests is not very difficult. We recommend to check out this article on LWN.net to find out how to get the source of openQA. You will need it to have the examples and tools needed to build new test cases. Once you have the source, you can find the test modules spread across os-autoinst directory. Every test module has two parts, one which contains the general flow of sendkey events to test an application or feature, the second one being a set of md5 hash sums to determine the validity of test results. os-autoinst/bmqemu.pm can act as a reference for the functions that can be used in our test modules. The commands can be used to write the desired test module. To verify if the test results are valid or not, a set of md5 hash sums of screenshots of the desired results is checked. To calculate these hashsums you can use tools/inststagedetect2.pl. The following article provides an indepth howto on writing a test module in openQA.

Getting Started

If you need help/support in testing, if you have topics to discuss or if you are just interested in this area, join the opensuse-testing@opensuse.org mailing list (see openSUSE:Mailing lists page how to subscribe). Have a look at the Testing portal or directly contact our core testing team http://en.opensuse.org/openSUSE:Testing_Core_team.

Happy testing!

25 Oct 2011 7:37pm GMT

Sascha Manns: Collecting Ideas for openSUSE Weekly News 200

Hello Mates,

soon we will release our 200th Issue of openSUSE Weekly News.

Time to collect ideas. So please tell us your ideas and place they there: https://connect.opensuse.org/pg/forum/topic/14907/ideas-for-opensuse-weekly-news-issue-200/

Have a lot of fun.

25 Oct 2011 7:27pm GMT

Andreas Jaeger: openSUSE at Lange Nacht der Wissenschaften

Last Saturday Nürnberg and other cities in the region had the so called "Lange Nacht der Wissenschaften" (literal translation: Long night of sciences). During this night - from 18:00 until 1:00 in the morning - over 1000 events took place to show what's happening in companies and research institutions. The event was visited by over 28000 visitors.
The Georg-Simon-Ohm University was so kind to invite openSUSE as a guest on their side for this event. A group of SUSE employees volunteered to present openSUSE.

Jürgen brought his trebuchet with him and put it in front of the main entrance. A trebuchet is a medieval war machine (catapult) and he had build a smaller version for himself. Instead of demonstrating the proper use of the machine - destroying city walls with throwing stones -, we throw small geekos into the crowd that mainly consisted of kids trying to catch the geeko while their parents were looking interestingly at the machine and were sent to our room to get more infos about the machine and open source.

In the room, we gave one of the following four presentations every 30 minutes: Introduction to OpenStreetMap by Christopher Hofmann, digital photo processing by Stephan Barth, simulation of an medieval war machine by Jürgen Weigert and 20 years of Linux by Andreas Jaeger. Jürgen explained how the trebuchet works and how it can be calculated and then demonstrated - using free software - how to simulate the machine and figure out how far it can throw.
We also had our two presentation desktops to showcase open source software - openSUSE 11.4 and it's applications - and a tablet showing Plasma Active.

We explained open source and openSUSE to the many people that visited us and also gave away the openSUSE 11.4 DVDs.
There were a lot of conversations: A visitor that wanted to argue that Windows' Powershell is far better than anything else. When Werner, our shell expert, asked him what he prefers to bash or tcsh, it became clear that he had never checked them out.
I talked with some students that want to become teachers and explained them openSUSE education and how free software makes it easy for them to teach - it gave them a different perspective.
It was a great night for all of us!

25 Oct 2011 6:24pm GMT