XFree86 Testing Faq

Let's Begin Testing

To start with...

First things first.

To start testing XFree86, you must have either checked out the current Candidate (available only during our Code Freeze period) or the downloaded the latest snapshot (available during all other periods) from the CVS, or last set of Snapshot binaries. After which, installation is just a matter of running the Xinstall.sh script.

Running this script is the first real test point. If you have any problems with this script or the installation itself fails, you should send in your results to the devel list. This problem should never happen after a Release has been tagged unless you are running on a platform that we have not put up binaries for, and is thus untested .

If you did encounter a problem, first check HELp and see if you can solve the problem yourself. This is a good way to get involved and start earning your wings towards becoming a developer.

The most common problem at this juncture though, is mechanical: you have forgotten to do a step like lndir ? >-). If that's not the case and solving it yourself is incredibly harder than you anticipated, then you should send in your results to our devel list with all of the information we request on the HELp page as though you are submitting a bug, and perhaps a veteran can give you pointers on what to do next.

A testing Potpourri

Most likely though, all of that went smoothly, and you have built and/or installed the code. Here lots can go wrong. You should first check and see if it flawlessly works with your desktop setup. If it does then let it age like fine wine, and how long depends on how aged you like your wine, or...

Try some of the goodies in our Test Suite Potpourri and see how your desktop stacks up. Perhaps you see problems. Perhaps you think that testing is really cool and you want to make that code better and see if you can break what you've downloaded. Or perhaps, you're still wondering what comes next.


So far so good. Everything's been cool and you're ready to try your hand at xtest.

xtest checks whether the Candidate, Snapshot, Release is behaving according to the X11 protocol specification. (Yes that is what they call it :-) This is a very important step as all our Candidates, Snaps become Candidates and the right Candidate becomes the Releaser, must support the X11 open standard. If you want to learn more about xtesting, this a good link.

Well that should have taken a while. It's a big document.

So, you've finished reading it and you are more than ready to get xtesting. To do that you have to download the tarred and bzipped file, and untar it and check the [HOME]/x4/test/xsuite/NOTES.xf86 file, the build.sh and also the run.sh shell scripts for notes on how to build and run it. These scripts should be self-explanatory. If you run into problems once it is all setup, send the results to the devel list in case other deverloper/testers have some pointers. Bad things to look for are: Xserver hangups, improper drawing, and most importantly check if there are any FAIL messages in the report summary. As in everything in life, FAILing is bad, but also like other fails, this one we can learn from.

If you've come here because you're looking to become a developer, a good hint is that neither the test Suite potpourri nor xtest is complete, (and some enterprising soul could start sending in ideas, patches and such, for ways to fully enhance one or both of them) this is a very good time to become familiar with the whole process as it is repeated often during every Phase, so familiarity with it makes it makes the whole thing ultimately go faster. Familiarity also has the added bonus of getting irritated with all the steps or the incomplete testing, and creating a desire to automate this whole process which in turn leads to development of ideas that makes the next round goes better and quicker; and then the next one and the next one and the next one...

The More Hardware the Merrier

One of the things that hampers XFree86 developers the most is access to hardware, (think about how wide and varied our software/hardware base is and you will realize that without a lot of community input this is impossible!). So with you testing the Snaps and then the Candidates on the hardware that you have access to, in addition to what the original developer had access to, we can really extend our capabilities and make XFree86 stronger, faster, better. And that's why this is, and always has been, a community project: submitting the code, shaking it out; chosing the best Candidate and then getting the Release out. It all requires people-power and a lot of interaction (you did join devel, right?).

Test? I don't need no stinking test!

Another venue

Perhaps though, xtest did not really grab you and you want to try another venue to help get the Release out. Chances are you've come to this section, because your desktop environment is running so boringly well that you are thinking that this whole thing is a lot of jabbering over nothing. In short, you want to help but in another way.

Enter the Bug-Man

He's a hoarder, he's always on the job. He's knows it all. Some call him Bugzilla, we call him (lovingly) the Bug-Man.

If you though all was well in XFree86-land, well go take a look at the Bug-Man. If you listen to him, it's all smoke and mirrors and there are a ga-zillion things wrong with XFree86. Now's the time to re-test those bugs the Bug-man, and swat them if they are no longer relevant.

While anyone can view his hoard, only someone who has a a Bug account can actually swat them dead. Once you have swatted (closed is the ah-em official word) a Bug send the copy to the devel list so everyone knows you are helping out. Remember XFree86, totally believes in credit, and not just for itself and this is a great way to get your name on the Credit list for this Release and start building those wings towards becoming one of the proud, the fearless, the incredble, XFree86 developers.

Like the other steps in building and shaking XFree86 out, this last step should not be underestimated in its importance or value. The more bugs that the Bug-man is hoarding, and he's a miser, the longer the release takes, since every last one of them has to be gotten through to see if it impacts the Candidate.


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Last Modified: 5 June 2006