Help to Spec Regression Testing for Ubuntu Apps

As any software engineer worth his salt knows, Regression , especially after an upgrade, is one of the most important aspects to take care of.

Professionally, I have taken care of a LOT of upgrade bugs and I so I have felt, first-hand, the pain caused by Regression Bugs.

I work on a tightly integrated embedded system firmware which is of the order of a few megabytes. Even then I woe and cry when confronted with Regression issues. So I can only imagine what the Ubuntu developers must be going through after each Release cycle !! Hats Off to you, brave souls !!!

In order to help these Nobel Knights, Mackenzie has proposed that we try and spec out some common Regression tests for some common software included in the Ubuntu-family of Distros.

To this end, she has created a page on the Ubuntu Wiki for Application Testing. She has included some of the more commonly used applications and anyone is free to add more to the list.

As of writing of this article, only the SeaHorse application has a few test cases.

Hope people will start adding more soon.

I will , hopefully, be contributing to the following Apps :

  • Pidgin
  • gnome-terminal
  • Firefox
  • NetworkManager
  • Tomboy

These are the aboslute few that I cannot live without. But if I actually do end up adding to the above , I’ll add more later.

Hope people start contributing here since it does not take too much time and  you need not be a Triager or a Tester , let alone a Developer , to add your contribution…. Just a user of the App.

Open Source | 2 Comments

What motivates Open source contribution ?

This post is in response to a notion I encountered more than once, by different people (blogs) at difference times. The argument here is : as more and more people start losing their jobs due to the Financial turmoil thats taking place in the world today, the number of open source contributions will increase since people will have more FREE time on their hands to waste.

This argument was made by one Mr.Andrew Keen who thinks the current economy is about to “Give Open Source a good thumping

My first reaction when I read this article was  : 1) this guy obviously hates open source software, and 2) This guy’s an idiot.

If you take a look at the comments section on his post, you will realise I am not the only one who thinks so.

But the best response is given by Steven J. Vaughan-Nicholas of ComputerWorld.

Steven corrects Andrew’s assumption that only people with free time and who do not care about money are contibuting to open source. The real-world stats about the actual code contributors to the Linux Kernel , Linux Foundation’s recently released report that it would have cost more than $10 Billion dollars to develop an Open source distribution like Fedora and, Jerrry Allison’s leaving Novell only to join Google, all make up a great counter-argument to Andrew’s obviously less thought-out post.

I agree to all these claims, including ones made by commentors on Andrew’s post about how the US Army and other government organizations also sponsor open source development. Open source is no longer a hobby project of some group of geeky students.

Open Source is serious business. A lot, and I mean a LOT of businesses , educational institutions and research work are completely dependent on open source software and it’s development. Sun’s acquisition of MySQL for a whooping $1 billion , the profit figures of companies like Canonical, Red Hat, SugarCRM , Alfresco, etc. are clear indications that open source can be an immensely profitable venture.

However, the true beauty of the open source software “movement” is that an unpaid, enthusiast student can be just as much a contributor to a project as a highly paid engineer at a multi-national company.

The “non-paid” contributors to open source software (and not just the Linux kernel , as pointed out by Steven), must be far more than paid contributors. I base this not on some hard statistical date but by a simple glance at free open source hosted repositories like SF, Google Code, Freshmeat, Savannah, etc.

Although a monetory payment is a huge motivation for contributing to open source software, I hope that “writing great software” keeps remaining the major impetus for it.

Open Source | 8 Comments