Board at Desk (B at D)

Linux Format - - Interview -

LXF: Tell us more about Board at Desk

YK: B at D is a VM that pro­vides an easy way for de­vel­op­ers to test Linux ker­nels from their lo­cal work­sta­tions. We don’t cre­ate every­thing for this project. It uses Ker­nel CI and LAVA − both open source projects used by Li­naro and the ker­nel com­mu­nity − which we put to­gether on this De­bian VM to cre­ate a test in­fra­struc­ture.

Ker­nel CI is an au­to­mated sys­tem for the build­ing of Linux ker­nels linked to large board farms. This en­ables each com­pany to use a com­mon test en­vi­ron­ment that can be used eas­ily (they can test boards from their desks), and it’s quite good for us. We can share the same test cases and also share re­sults for the CIP ker­nel. Shared and trusted test­ing is an im­por­tant phi­los­o­phy for us. Not ev­ery­one has ac­cess to all boards, and we needed to get away from the cen­trally man­aged na­ture of ker­nelci.org. Fur­ther­more, Ker­nel CI and LAVA are both pow­er­ful tools, but they’re com­pli­cated beasts too. We hope that B at D will re­duce the en­try bar­rier to these two projects.

We re­leased B at D v1.0 just be­fore this con­fer­ence. The main changes are that we’ve up­dated the VM from De­bian Jessie to Stretch. Pre­vi­ously, we had some pack­ages from De­bian Test­ing in there, which led to some in­sta­bil­i­ties and in­con­sis­ten­cies. We have a new ver­sion of LAVA, too: 2017.7.

All of this up­dat­ing work has been done by the CIP test­ing team at Code­think. We also sup­port Win­dows as a host OS, but that prob­a­bly doesn’t in­ter­est you! What might in­ter­est you is that we now build the initramfs lo­cally. This used to hap­pen re­motely on Li­naro servers, which meant that we couldn’t test with­out in­ter­net con­nec­tiv­ity. Now we can, and we can do so faster.

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