|| ||James E Keenan <jkeen-AT-verizon.net> |
|| ||parrot-dev-AT-lists.parrot.org |
|| ||3.6 Release Experience, Parrot Developer Summit, Roadmap Goals |
|| ||Tue, 19 Jul 2011 12:15:04 -0400|
|| ||Article, Thread
3.6 was my first experience serving as Parrot Release Manager. It was
an arduous experience. Unfortunately, it did not qualify as boring.
Kudos to cotto++, NotFound++ and Coke++ for interventions at key points.
The release is not complete yet, as I don't yet have the permissions
necessary to upload the HTML versions of our documentation.
Two issues had an adverse impact on 3.6's degree of difficulty. Both
are issues of long-standing. Both reflect cultural factors within our
community. Both are likely to re-emerge in the future. Hence, not
surprisingly, I would like to see both discussed at the Parrot Developer
Summit to take place on July 30 or 31, and both should be considered for
elevation to Roadmap Goal status.
I. Smoke testing
smolder.parrot.org was down from, IIRC, the first week of May until late
June. We survived the 3.4 and 3.5 releases without Smolder mostly by
(a) taptinder++; (b) ignoring the possibility that we were getting
failure reports on OSes other than Linux (see below).
When Smolder came back on line, there were several things that limited
* It took time for the human smoke testers to learn that it was back on
line and resume sending smoke reports.
* One of the automated smokers, a NetBSD box at the compile farm, was
stuck on a Parrot release from February and gave the illusion that we
were still passing on that OS. (We were, but only under certain build
conditions. And we don't have anyone doing actual development on
NetBSD, so diagnosing those failures is difficult.)
* We weren't/aren't getting any smoke reports on OpenBSD.
* Most critically, we were/are getting a different set of test failure
reports from each Windows box submitting a smoke.
This meant that we were helpless when one of our veteran developers
presented us with a build failure on OpenBSD just before the release.
And while we did manage to make code revisions in order to get PASSes on
some of our Windows boxes submitting smoke reports, other Windows boxes
are still reporting failures. Hence, the lack of consistent smoke
testing throughout the quarterly release period limited the degree of
quality assurance we were able to provide in the week leading up to the
II. Operating systems other than Linux
Let's face it. Our project's members like to develop *on* and *for*
Linux. We react to working on or (especially) for OSes other than Linux
as either being told to floss (Darwin, the BSDs) or having teeth pulled
* People *state* that it would be good to have more Parrot developers on
Windows, but they really would like those developers to be *somebody else*.
* Given the number of us who use Macs, you would expect many more
Darwin/i386 smoke reports than we actually get. But long-standing
corner-case bugs on Darwin go undiagnosed.
Our mantra: "Parrot is a virtual machine aimed at all dynamic
languages." The reality: "Parrot is a virtual machine aimed at all
dynamic languages, provided you're on Linux."
So there's dissonance here between what we know, at an intellectual
level, is good for the Parrot project and what we as individual
participants in the project find fun to do.
I don't have any solutions to these problems at this point -- which is
all the more reason I think they need to be on the agenda for the Summit
in 11 or 12 days.
Thank you very much.
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