I did not overlook "Projects like LTP do that systematically." The Linux Testing Project is a drop in the bucket: far too little. Given its size, the kernel should have over ten thousand individual tests that are run and analyzed [automation helps!] before each release.
the LTP testsuite's 'testcases/' directory sports 7000+ files, most of which are individual testcases. Testcase files often contain more than 1 testcase. LTP is being run not "before each release" but on Linus' nightly GIT trees - and yes, it's all automated.
furthermore, there are random automated testing efforts as well like scrashme, which can (and do) hit bugs by chance as well.
while i dont claim that LTP is perfect (if it were we'd have no bugs in the kernel), it is certainly alot more than "a drop in the bucket".
but i digress ...
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