Distributed Build Testing

Erik Massop edited this page Nov 4, 2017 · 1 revision


Distributed build testing is a way of building XMMS2 across user-donated machines and getting back the results. This has many possible uses. One such use is to build XMMS2 trees after every commit, or just after key commits, to ensure that there is no breakage after changesets are pushed. Another, similar, usage is for the RFP Mailbot or a similar webpage that can test build a patch on multiple architectures and operating systems to ensure compatibility across platforms.




Let's go piece-by-piece, starting from the bottom, shall we?

Git Tree

Just a git tree of some sort, most likely this will be xmms2-devel, but there should be support for all of the trees on exodus.


Some minimal interface to git tools. This will allow the system to identify if the patch to be tested will apply to the tree. Also, the tree could be updated if necessary, and trees across all test systems should be brought to the same HEAD.


An interface to waf. Right now, my interface is in pretty good shape. You can change options of each stage of the build (distclean, configure, build, and install). The idea on doing all of these stages is to be as thorough as possible, and also allow testing of build system patches.

Build Test

This gets the patch to be tested from the build distributor (or nothing at all) and applies it (or doesn't). This should use git to make sure the patch can be applied and the tree is updated as needed. Then, when the trees are synced and patch is applied, the build test stage will call waf and actually perform the build. Return statuses and output are recorded and passed back to the build distributor.

Build Distributor

Passes any patches for testing to donor machines and coordinates their build results. Since part of the design goal is ease of use and setup, the donor machines are not required to be any particular architecture, OS, or even have all the dependencies to test all components. The build coordinator will take results from all types of machines and operating systems, combine like results, and prepare them for presentation.


Envision three machines and three possible plugins in their particular tree.

  • Machine 1:

Name: Korv Architecture: i386 OS: Linux Enabled plugins: oss Disabled plugins: alsa, esound Build status: success

  • Machine 2:

Name: Apan Architecture: i386 OS: Linux Enabled plugins: alsa, oss Disabled plugins: esound Build status: success

  • Machine 3:

Name: Tutar Architecture: PPC OS: FreeBSD Enabled plugins: oss Disabled plugins: alsa, esound Build status: success

  • Results:

alsa: success on i386/Linux; untested on PPC/FreeBSD oss: success on i386/Linux; success on PPC/FreeBSD esound; untested on i386/Linux; untested on PPC/FreeBSD

In reality, there would be a lot more to report, like the individual steps of the build, the XMMS2 core build, and maybe the hostnames. If identical architectures and operating systems have a plugin that builds on one machine and fails on another, that's another state that needs to be represented (warning or partial). There are clients and libraries, too. Pretty obviously, this is the most complicated and most important part of the system.

Results Database

A results database makes sense only in certain situations. In the RFP Mailbot, the user would get her build results right back, so it has no place there. If this system was set up as an automatic test framework for xmms2-stable, for example, it would make sense since it would just build and store the results of every git commit, or release, or whatever. A developer could peek on the database to see what needs work, or the wiki could use this information to automatically update the Project Status page.


This is just some way of showing a user how the steps of the build have progressed. This can be a mailbot, a webpage, the Project Status page, or whatever.


We have a distributed build system with a results database set up on exodus. The system is set to build xmms2-stable after every release and record the results in the database. Then, the results database is hooked up to the wiki on both the Project Status page and a timeline page. The project status page is always kept up-to-date with the latest stable release of XMMS2 and the timeline page shows what plugins and support were added during which stable release cycle of XMMS2.

Since the distributed build system also allows for building across platforms, you can click on a plugin and see what systems it has successfully built on. You click the OSS link and see that it has been built on FreeBSD, OpenBSD, and Linux on i386 and PPC architectures. You click on the coreaudio link and find it is untested. After installing the build test software on one of your spare Sparc boxes in about 10 minutes, you have the distributed build system add your machine as one of its test hosts, then rebuild xmms2-stable, and click on coreaudio again. Coreaudio is listed as working on your Sparc machine.

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