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Kernel bugs: out of control?

Kernel bugs: out of control?

Posted May 12, 2006 10:50 UTC (Fri) by scarabaeus (guest, #7142)
Parent article: Kernel bugs: out of control?

The kernel folks should invest some work into an automated testing framework, one which allows you to run the tests without booting into the kernel. While automated tests, e.g. unit tests, won't make the problem go away, they are incredibly useful for realizing that your own changes to the code break some other part of it.

Actually, I'm a bit surprised that things do work so well without unit tests even though hardly anyone understands the entire kernel. With code of that complexity, usually when you pull at one end, something breaks at the other end. I guess the reason why the dev process still works so well is the intensive peer review of patches.

With the complex interdependencies within the kernel, writing test cases is certainly a challenge. For example, writing a case which tests the scheduler's behaviour in a certain situation won't be easy. But once a "scheduler test framework" is in place, it can be used for future work on the scheduler, so the work will pay off IMHO.

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Kernel bugs: out of control?

Posted May 21, 2006 17:12 UTC (Sun) by nix (subscriber, #2304) [Link]

The problem is that a large number of the stability problems are in specific drivers and in the interaction of drivers with hardware... and you can't test that without having the hardware.

Most things are amenable to automated testing, but kernels are one of those things that aren't entirely so. (The non-driver parts, sure: I can imagine a UML-based kernel core testsuite, for instance. But the driver parts are where the nastiest bugs often lie.)

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