Fedora 23 Alpha and more

Hi folks! So what's new?

Fedora 23 Alpha

Well, the big news is that Fedora 23 Alpha is released today. This was definitely a bit of a 'don't look in the sausage factory!' release during the validation / approval process, but in the end it's pretty much a standard Alpha. It mostly works fine. As always, we strongly recommend not installing it on any kind of production system (though my desktop's been running 23 ever since 22 came out: do as I say, not as I do!)

We weren't able to do as many TCs and RCs as I'd usually like due to issues with the compose process and some unfortunately timed ABI/API breaks, but in the end we managed to get composes done when we absolutely needed them, and completed the validation testing without too much craziness.

Revamping the compose / test process

One of the things I'm very much looking forward to working on with other teams - particularly release engineering - at the upcoming Flock is how we revamp the whole compose/test/milestone release cycle, which is just sooo 2004, for the brave new world of...(INSERT BUZZWORD HERE). What I'd like us to have is a model where we run a full release-style compose every day (or two, after Branching - one for Rawhide, one for Branched) and it is then run through whatever automated tests we have to throw at it; we'd publish the test results for each day's compose in whatever ways are most useful to people, and composes which passed whatever subset of the tests are considered 'gating' would be preserved for download.

If we did that I'm not sure we'd actually need Alpha or Beta releases any more; they're already somewhat artificial and about half their usefulness is for PR. Many people already deploy Branched from nightly live images or boot.iso builds instead of the previous milestone build.

Final releases would ideally be built with as similar a process as possible (at present there are a few switches that need to be flipped to mark a release as 'final', this might likely still have to be the case) and tested the same way.

We can look at various models for adding on manual testing steps along the way and perhaps stepping up the 'gating' requirements, as we currently increase the requirements of the release criteria through the Alpha, Beta and Final milestones.

The good thing is there's lots of work to get our teeth into here and it can all be done while maintaining the TC/RC and milestone build process for as long as it seems to make sense. For instance, I've been meaning for a while to work on fedmsg integration for openQA.

It would be really, really helpful in this model to reduce the major bottlenecks we have in the compose repos / compose images pipeline, so I'm also hoping to talk to releng folks about what the latest thoughts are in that area.

openQA progress

I've been working quite a lot on openQA lately. We got all the tests running properly on Fedora 23; you can see results from the two openQA deployments in the F23 validation result pages ('coconut' is the more-or-less official one running behind the RH firewall, 'colada' is my deployment which is publicly visible, tends to be running a slightly newer openQA, and gets my changes before they get merged upstream). Aside from the the rather subtle X dpi issue I blogged about before I ran into some similarly obscure issues with console fonts - there's various interesting details/bugs involved in the question of exactly what console font is used in an installed system, in a traditional installer image, and in the live environment - so I wound up doing more bug digging and screenshot updating for that.

After that I added some new storage tests, and along the way somewhat redesigned the way they're dispatched and run to keep things cleaner and improve code re-use.

Next I'm planning to do some more storage tests, and also if possible get tests running on i686 and UEFI; that'd help with test coverage and help avoid problems like the one we had for F23 where the i686 installer images didn't boot for a month and no-one noticed. Of course, we might decide to stop blocking on i686 releases instead...

Upcoming stuff

Of course, next on the timetable is the Fedora 23 Beta release; we'll start cutting TCs after Flock, I guess. We also have Fedora 23 Test Days starting up soon. The l10n Test Day is pencilled in for 2015-08-18, so mark your calendar - the Test Day page and more information should be coming soon!


Matthew Miller wrote on 2015-08-11 18:11:
My off-the-cuff opinion is: ditch alphas, but keep betas for at least the PR value, and also as a signal to enthusiast users / testers beyond the core qa community. And the alpha milestone is probably still a useful checkpoint for changes.