Subject: Re: Development Shop FSB
From: Ian Lance Taylor <ian@airs.com>
Date: 12 Mar 2002 11:19:29 -0800

Tom Lord <lord@regexps.com> writes:

>    Remember also that Red Hat does a respectable amount
>    of testing work (at least, respectable compared to the amount of
>    testing which anybody else does), which mostly shows up as minor bug
>    fixes.  Considering the contributions I see publicly, I think there
>    is a decent percentage coming out.
> 
> Reasonable people can disagree on this point.  It's interesting,
> though, that you say RH does a respectable amount of testing -- but
> that nobody else does.  Is it reasonable to conclude from that that
> RH has testing software which they don't release?

Not to my knowledge.  As far as I know, they still use DejaGnu, which
is publically available.  But testing, particularly for non-native
tools, takes time and effort.

> If so much testing is necessary, and it is so expensive that nobody
> else can afford to do it, then wouldn't we expect the economically
> efficient solution to be the one that eliminates the need for such
> differentiated in-house testing at its source: in the public projects?
> 
> Sure, a stream of bug-fixes is nice, but the cost to others of
> incorporating them into the public projects isn't 0, and the cost to
> others of not being able to prevent them in the first place (and
> having to wait for RH to find them and send bug reports) is also not
> 0.  The processes RH uses to find these bugs could be externalized and
> that would raise the level of the playing field.  In the mean time, it
> seems to me to be pretty distorted that one company winds up being the
> "magic testing cauldron".

Since Red Hat maintains gcc, gdb, binutils, ecos, there is no ``cost
to others of incorporating'' patches in these tools.  Red Hat bears
the cost.  These are among the packages hosted at
http://sources.redhat.com, for which Red Hat also bears the cost.

As far as I know, the processes used to find the bugs in these
projects involve plugging in target boards and pointing the
(publically available) DejaGnu at those boards.  In other words,
anybody can do it--anybody who has the hardware.  Perhaps things have
evolved somewhat and I don't know about it.

> I wasn't talking about up2date, I was talking about the software
> infrastructure behind this: "https://rhn.redhat.com/overview_workgroup.pxt".

Ah.  I don't know anything about this.

Ian