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In this section, we cover the activities of the QA team[1]. For more information on the work of the QA team and how you can get involved, see the Joining page[2].

We apologize for the lack of a QA section for the last few issues of FWN: the QA team was very busy with Fedora 16 validation testing. This issue catches up with the QA team news from the last several weeks.

Contributing Writer: Adam Williamson

Test Days

In the past few weeks, we finished up the Fedora 16 Test Day schedule, with Graphics Test Week taking place at the start of September[1] ref></ref> ref></ref>, virtualization test day taking place on 2011-09-15[2], another i18n desktop test day on 2011-09-22[3], an ABRT test day on 2011-09-26[4], a power management test day on 2011-09-29[5], printing test day on 2011-10-06[6], Fedora packager plugin for Eclipse test day on 2011-10-13[7], and Cloud SIG test day on 2011-10-20[8]. Most of these test days passed off successfully with the work of the developers behind them, despite the QA team being very busy, so many thanks to those who organized and carried out these events, and those who turned up to do the testing.

The Fedora 17 Test Day cycle has not yet started. We welcome proposals for test days for the Fedora 17 cycle, and we usually accept all the proposals that are made. You can propose a test day for almost anything, and organize it yourself following the handy guide we provide[9], or alternatively we can help out with the organization of the event. Information on how to propose a test day is available on the Wiki[10].

Fedora 16 preparation

As mentioned above, Fedora 16 release validation took up almost all of the QA team's time during the last few months, with very challenging Beta and Final releases. There were a total of 12 candidate builds for Beta and Final combined, and the whole team put in tireless work running the set of validation tests against each build and then investigating and verifying the large number of blocker bugs identified. The team was able to contribute to the release eventually going ahead with only a one week slip to the Beta schedule and no slip of the Final schedule, a considerable achievement in the light of the many complex changes in the Fedora 16 feature list.

Release criteria updates

Largely as a result of the Fedora 16 validation process, there were several adjustments and additions to the release criteria in recent weeks. After discussion of the proposed kickstart / unattended installation release criterion concluded, Adam Williamson reported that he had committed his proposed modifications[1]. He also committed a change to reflect the increased priority of EFI installations from Fedora 17 onwards[2].

Adam also passed on a suggestion from Peter Jones to improve the clarity of the virtualization criteria[3]. After an extensive discussion, an elegant wording suggestion from Albert Graham[4] was eventually accepted and committed[5].

Tim Flink raised the question to what extent support for Xen virtualization should be included in the release criteria[6]. After a similarly enthusiastic discussion, it was eventually agreed that Xen DomU support - effectively, the ability to install successfully as a Xen guest - should be a Final release criterion[7].

Adam also proposed downgrading some rarely-used kickstart deployment methods from Beta to Final in the criteria, requiring only the most commonly-used to be working at Beta stage[8].

Finally, Adam proposed a criterion for i18n (translation) issues[9]. After discussion, the proposal was agreed upon at a blocker review meeting later in the week[10].

Update policy changes

In September, Karsten Hopp raised the issue of a security update for Fedora 14 which had been languishing in the updates-testing repository for some time[1]. Adam Williamson explained that the amount of testers working on older releases was limited, and that the actual karma requirements for updates to be accepted were controlled by FESCo (the Fedora engineering steering committee), not the QA group[2]. Chuck Anderson noted that he had the update in question installed, but was struggling for lack of information on how to test it properly[3]. Rahul Sundaram suggested that Karsten file a ticket with FESCo to raise the issue[4], and Karsten did[5].

That ticket was merged with another similar one reported by Doug Ledford[6], which became a topic of concern to FESCo. After several rounds of discussions, FESCo first decided to relax the requirements for critical path updates somewhat by allowing them to be sent through to the stable repository without the 'required' karma after a period of two weeks had elapsed[7], and later proposed removing the requirement for critical path updates to receive positive karma from a proven tester[8], effectively a proposal to end the proven tester system, as this is the only function it serves.

The QA group discussed this proposal at the weekly meeting of 2011-11-07[9], agreeing that, while they had some reservations about the proposal, they were not definitely opposed to it, and recognized that critical path updates not receiving the currently-required karma is a significant problem.

Update candidate notification

Samuel Greenfeld asked if there was any system to notify testers of new candidate updates for specific packages, and to determine what packages are being actively used on a system[1]. There were no takers for the second question, but for the first, Adam Williamson suggested using yum parameters that would allow one to specify only certain packages be pulled from the updates-testing repository[2], and Till Maas pointed out that Bodhi can actually provide per-package RSS notifications[3].

Proven tester meetings

As a response to the concerns about candidate updates not receiving enough karma, Kevin Fenzi ran a series of weekly proven tester meetups[1] from 2011-09-21 to 2011-10-26. Recaps of these meetings are available in the mailing list archives[2] [3] [4] [5] [6].

Kevin also proposed an updates-testing-info mailing list, containing only the mails about new packages in updates-testing[7]. However, the consensus was against the idea, as it was felt that it was easy enough to simply filter the desired mails from the test mailing list for those who did not want to read the other traffic.

QA group representation at FUDCon Pune

Ankur Sinha asked whether anyone from the QA team would be present at the upcoming FUDCon in Pune, India and able to do a presentation on the group's activities[1]. Adam Williamson replied that unfortunately none of the Red Hat team would be at the conference, but encouraged Ankur to take a shot at giving a presentation himself[2]. A S Alam then stepped up to volunteer to lead a QA session[3]. His session was scheduled for 2011-11-04[4], but we have no report on the event - if you were present, please write to the mailing list and let us know how it went!