Anaconda & - Pt.1 - Introduction

Posted by Alexander Todorov on Wed 14 October 2015

Since early 2015 I've been working on testing installation related components in Rawhide. I'm interested in the code produced by the Red Hat Installer Engineering Team and in particular in anaconda, blivet, pyparted and pykickstart. The goal of this effort is to improve the overall testing of these components and also have Red Hat QE contribute some of our knowledge back to the community. The benefit of course will be better software for everyone. In the next several posts I'll summarize what has been done so far and what's to be expected in the future.

Test Documentation Matters

Do you want others to contribute tests? I certainly do! When I started looking at the code it was obviously clear there was no documentation related to testing. Everyone needs to know how to write and execute these tests! Currently we have basic README files describing how to install necessary dependencies for development and test execution, how to execute the tests (and what can be tested) and most importantly what is the test architecture. There is description of how the file structure is organized and which are the base classes to inherit from when adding new tests. Most of the times each component goes through a pylint check and a standard PyUnit test suite.

Test documentation is usually in a tests/README file. For example:

I've tried to explain as much as possible without bloating the files and going into unnecessary details. If you spot something missing please send a pull request.

Continuous Integration

This has been largely an effort driven by Chris Lumens from the devel team. All the components I'm interested in are tested regularly in a CI environment. There is a make ci Makefile target for those of you interested in what exactly gets executed.

Test Coverage

In order to improve something you need to know where you stand. We'll I didn't. That's why the first step was to integrate the tool with all of these components.

With the exception of blivet (written in C) all of the other components integrate well with and produce good statistics. pykickstart is the champ here with 90% coverage, while anaconda is somewhere between 10% and 50%. Full test coverage measurement for anaconda isn't straight forward and will be the subject of my next post. For the C based code we have to hook up with Gcov which shouldn't be too difficult.

At the moment there are several open pull requests to integrate the coverage test targets with make ci and also report the results in human readable form. I will be collecting these for historical references.


I've created some basic text-mode coverage-tools to help me combine and compare data from different executions. These are only the start of it and I'm expanding them as my needs for reporting and analytics evolve. I'm also looking into more detailed coverage reports but I don't have enough data and use cases to work on this front at the moment.

Some ideas currently in mind:

  • map code changes (git commits) to existing test coverage to get a feeling where to invest in more testing;
  • map bugs to code areas and to existing test coverage to see if we aren't missing tests in areas where the bugs are happening;

Bugs is a very nice tool indeed but I guess most people use it in a very limited way. Shortly after I started working with it I've found several places which need improvements. These have to do with combining and reporting on multiple files.

Some of the interesting issues I've found and still open are:

In my next post I will talk about anaconda code coverage and what I want to do with it. In the mean time please use the comments to share your feedback.

tags: QA, fedora.planet

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