Coordination of the autopkgtest addition into debian-science packages

Purpose

One difficulty with scientific software is their long term maintenance. This is partially due to the fact that some of them are highly specific and so there are not many people involved in there development. Some of these applications are the product or side-effect of research.

Indeed Debian is not there to add every scientist scripts but it can help create communities and help them grow around a few software dedicated to a scientific field.

If there's one good development/packaging practice scientists should understand, it is unit testing, the ability to reproduce the tests and environment.

The purpose of this debian-science effort is to promote these unit test and show how useful they can be to achive a better science.

The work necessary to add this kind of test to a package is not necessarily huge but is very valuable and would enhance the overall quality of the debian-science package.

It is also very valuable to promote the team work. It is intimidating to hack a scientific package if there is no unit test that show you did nothing wrong when fixing it (for example a FTBFS on an exotic architecture). In that particular case, it helps people involved in the bootstraping of new architecture to validate that your software is working properly.

This kind of enhancement can also be offered to newcomers and anyone who wants to contribute to the debian-science team.

Here are a few ways to help debian-science in this effort:

Identify packages that could benefit from debci integration

If your package already contains unit tests that are executed during the build process, it can be a good candidate for debci integration.

To tag a package as suitable, you can send the following to control@bugs.debian.org:

user debian-science-maintainers@lists.alioth.debian.org
usertags ! debian-science-debci
thanks

Also see the list of packages currently tagged with debian-science-debci.

Packages with unused unit tests

You can activate these tests during the build process and also for debci.

Package without unit tests

Help us by filling out a bug request upstream.

Configure your system to run autopkgtest using lxc

sudo apt-get install lxc libvirt-clients libvirt-daemon-system autopkgtest
sudo cat >/etc/lxc/default.conf <<EOT
lxc.network.type = veth
lxc.network.flags = up
lxc.network.link = virbr0
lxc.network.hwaddr = 00:FF:AA:00:00:01
lxc.network.ipv4 = 0.0.0.0/24
EOT
sudo /etc/init.d/lxc start
sudo virsh net-start default
sudo autopkgtest-build-lxc debian sid

Once this is configured you can run the autopkgtest using

sudo autopkgtest #CHANGESFILE# -- lxc autopkgtest-sid

To get an up to date lxc container do

sudo lxc-destroy -n autopkgtest-sid
sudo autopkgtest-build-lxc debian sid