KernelCI: the Linux testing framework, will be under the mantle of the LF

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The Linux Foundation made it known during the Open Source Summit Europe in Lyon, France, which has taken a new project under his mantle, this project is "KernelCI”. Which is a plataform that is designed to perform automated testing of the Linux kernel build process.

KernelCI becomes a project under the Linux Foundation Because kernel development is focused on kernel.org, while testing is left to the efforts of individual developers and projects. Among other things, each major Linux distributor operates its own test lab, but the exchange between individual projects remains small.

Although there is widespread agreement that more needs to be done in the testing, the results are still insufficient and mostly separate. Part of the problem is how Linux mailing lists are patched. Russell Currey, Linux kernel developer, recently explained:

Unlike a project based solely on GitHub or GitLab, where a pull request contains all the information needed to merge a change group; an email containing, say, patch 7/10, doesn't have that context. It is almost impossible to tell from an email message informing you if a series of patches have been merged, rejected, or replaced. In general, mailing lists just don't have the same level of metadata as contemporary project hosting sites and this makes the problem of continuous integration even more difficult.

One of the projects that regularly and extensively tests the Linux kernel is the project KernelCI. Since also se based on automated testing of official Linux versions, is distributed as a collaborative project and it consists of free software. The tests are designed to ensure compatibility with a wide range of hardware platforms.

If the test encounters an error or a regression, the errors are located, reported and, if possible, corrected. Linux development states are mostly tested, so many bugs can be fixed before they go into an official Linux release.

"I often say how good I feel about the Linux system, but I must admit that we can even improve the way we test the kernel," says Jim Zemlin, director of the Foundation. “Testing has long been a fragmented and top-down practice. We look forward to increasing the quality, stability, and maintainability of our operating system.

The choice of KernelCI turns out to be a success within the community, since they comment that:

"We went from a point where there were few test tools to a multiplication of solutions in the last two years," says Kevin Hilman, Senior Kernel Expert at Baylibre. "We use open source software, but we do not take an open source approach to testing," he adds.

In addition, the diversity of efforts uncovered numerous bugs, to the point that the kernel's long-term maintenance managers (LTSs) were out of date.

"KernelCI improves our method and bug tracking to repair"

For a year, KernelCI had planned to become a Linux Foundation project. This took longer than expected. But now the Linux Foundation has announced the inclusion of KernelCI. Project sponsors include BayLibre, Civil Infrastructure Platform, Collabora, Foundries.io, Google, Microsoft, and Red Hat. The new home will ensure long-term development thanks to adequate technical and financial support.

With this step, KernelCI will gain access to much more hardware. In addition, a permanent structure for the management of the project will be created and contributions from the Community should be facilitated. Creating new project structures will take some time, but progress is likely in the not too distant future.

If you want to know more about the announcement of the Linux foundation, you can consult it at the following link.


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