regression or not
Posted Dec 16, 2006 4:02 UTC (Sat) by giraffedata
In reply to: regression or not
Parent article: Another kernel core dump security issue
I speak with authority on things of which I am completely certain that I know what I'm talking about. In the unlikely event that someone challenges me, I can then supply better authority or just let the challenge stand as a correction of that authority.
I am in fact surprised to hear that you heard regression and regression testing used that way, which is even weirder (hunting for a bug?) than the way it's used in the article. I guess there's more abuse of the term out there than I knew.
The best authority I can give is the definition of "regression" in an English dictionary. Software engineers don't pull words at random from the dictionary to describe their processes; they use words whose regular usage describes the process. The English "regression" doesn't fit hunting for old bugs or reintroduction of old bugs specifically. But it does describe quite nicely breaking something that used to work.
I also typed "regression testing" into Google and the first two results were dictionaries - Webopedia and Wikipedia - that defined it quite well in a way inconsistent with the definition used in the article and in your comment. The Webopedia one has an error in that in one place it suggests ALL testing of code is regression testing, but the Wikipedia is quite good. Definition of regression is implicit in the definition of regression testing.
My guess is if you looked at the next 50 Google results, at least 45 of them would use regression in a way inconsistent with limiting it to reintroduction of old bugs. I can say this because I've seen the term used in dozens of projects, and it's nearly always the same way, consistent with the plain English "regression."
I can't believe you worked somewhere where regression tests included only tests related to previously reported bugs. What about all the test cases that were written for new features in past releases? Didn't you rerun those too every time you changed code (and call it regression testing)?
Until now, the only abuse of "regression testing" I've seen is that some people think it means automated testing. That's because regression testing is virtually always automated, as a practical necessity, while new function testing often isn't.
to post comments)