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Revision as of 16:56, 1 May 2010 by Mchua (talk | contribs) (Prepare a test image)

This page is incomplete.
It is a quick draft being written based on the Fedora Classroom session on the same topic.


What is this howto about?

This howto will walk you through the process of testing package updates for Fedora. Updates, as the name implies, are changes to one or more packages in the Fedora ecosystem. They may be changes to an existing package (for instance, to sync it with upstream), bugfixes for an existing package, or a brand new package. When Fedora users are prompted to "update" their system, these updates are the ones that are applied.

Before we push an update out to all Fedora users, we want to make sure that the update itself works and does not break anything. Even if the update comes from a good and stable upstream and has been tested there, we need to test in in Fedora specifically, since upstreams are unlikely to have the same setup (compilers, libraries, etc) as Fedora. This becomes even more important if the update is a new package or a bugfix patch, because those are unlikely to have been tested upstream in the first place.

In order to keep track of which updates have been tested (and are therefore ready to be pushed to the wider Fedora community) and which ones have not been tried out yet and need to wait for more feedback, we have the notion of karma, which is essentially a count of how many people have voluntarily tried out the update under consideration, and whether or not it works for them. For instance, a +3 karma means 3 people have tried the update and verified that it works on their system.

This guide is about how to install and test an update, and how to give that update karma if it works for you (and where to leave feedback if it doesn't).

How does this fit into the larger picture of Fedora?

Here is an overview of "how updates get made," and where karma and testers (like you!) fit into the whole process:

  1. A package maintainer checks in a update or patch or fix or new package into fedora's CVS repo.
  2. The package is built in the Fedora build system: At this point you can go to the buildsystem and download the package and install it if you wanted to. It would not be signed as coming from the Fedora project, and you would have to manually download and use it.
  3. The package maintainer creates an update using the newly built package in Fedora's update system: When this update request is created the maintainer can specifiy things about it. One thing the maintainer can specify is whether the update should go to the updates-testing repository (usually a "yes" unless it's an urgent fix), and how much karma it needs to move to the updates repository to be publicly available (+3 karma by default).
  4. When the update reaches updates-testing, it now requires karma (by default, +3 karma) in order to be promoted to the updates repository (and therefore "go live" for the rest of the Fedora community). This is where you come in - by installing and testing an update and giving it karma, you enable the update to move on to the next stage.
  5. Once the update gets the required amount of karma, it is promoted to the "updates" repository, and the improvements from the update are made available to all Fedora users.

Why would I do this?

You might want to test updates, or have updates tested, for several reasons:

  • The update is for a project that you care about, and you'd like to see the fixes and changes for it made available faster.
  • You're a developer/packager and would like feedback on your update before you push it to several million users, to make extra sure that everything will be all right.
  • You're looking for a way to get involved with the Fedora QA team.

Steps to follow

Find an update to test

Please reword this.
This isn't clearly written, but it's the best my brain can do right now. Mel Chua 16:55, 1 May 2010 (UTC)

Look at on the left sidebar and click any of the "testing" links there. It will take you to the list of updates that need testing for that particular build.

Prepare a test image

Download the .iso for the image you are testing and start it up in a virtual machine.

Enable the updates-testing repo

Install the update

Test the update

Give karma

Useful tools



Where to learn more