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Towards generalized testing (Was: Caching test results separately?)

From: Felix Lechner
Subject: Towards generalized testing (Was: Caching test results separately?)
Date: Mon, 13 Mar 2023 16:10:44 -0700

Hi Josselin,

On Mon, Mar 13, 2023 at 3:21 PM Josselin Poiret <> wrote:
> I would really like for tests to move out of build phases
> That would require a huge change to Guix though

Fortunately, there is a great precedent for that work in Debian. It is
called autopkgtest. [1]

One package I maintained there, called Lintian, had a comprehensive
test suite that mimicked large parts of Debian including building
packages. When I moved the tests out of the build process, it
shortened the build time from six hours to seven minutes.

That was on Gitlab with external runners provided by a donor.

The key to understanding Debian's autopkgtest process is that, while
the test suites are distributed together with the sources, they
actually test the *installed* versions of the software (which are
loaded separately). That crucial distinction catches important
user-facing errors that were previously undetectable, such as
installation in the wrong path.

We already have many good starting points in Guix. Some truly great
work has been done. [2]

There are also two SRFIs [3][4] although I am personally biased toward
TAP (the "Test-Anything Protocol") [5] and already used that in one of
my Guile modules. [6]

Either way, such testing efforts will make our distribution even
better, especially as we support additional architectures. I would be
eager to cooperate if there is an extra seat at the table.

Kind regards,


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