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IRC Session Transcript

#startmeeting Xubuntu testers session

#chair akxwi-dave

Lets make a start - we'll be running through the situations I listed on the mail, they run from the simpler side of testing to the more interesting :) But first, a couple of things to run through before we start properly.

The Xubuntu development tracker has a QA status tab, if there is anything that QA need to make testers aware of urgently, it will be on the notice board -

Testing shouldn't be too onerous - do as little or as much as you can find the time for, all of it is appreciated by the whole Xubuntu team.

That said, being noticed by us can lead to invitations to Xubuntu QA and from there it is possible to get invited into Xubuntu Team where you get to be involved in the future of Xubuntu as a whole. For example, you get a vote in those mails you might have seen which start with [TEAM]

#topic Testing and verifying SRU bugfixes

First off we'll look at testing fixes that are targeted at released and still supported release(s)

For this you will need to be running whichever supported version the SRU is aimed at. We'll use an example - and let's use a fairly recent one - bug 1512120

You can see from that bug at comment 83

that updated packages for both 16.04 and 16.10 were uploaded to the proposed repositories. To test the fix (and this applies to all SRUs) you need to enable that repository and then update the package list, either by using the Reload button or in a terminal with apt.

Once updated, you can reinstall the package (thunar) and test the new version against the testcase which should be present in the first comment of the SRU bug report.

Whether the patch fixes the bug for you, add a comment to the bug, mentioning which version you tested (dpkg -l 'package' ) and where (for example 16.04.2). Last but not least, change the verification tag to verification-done if the bug was fixed, or if the issue persists, use the verification-failed tag.

Once you have updated the package to check, you probably want to then disable the proposed repository or you will continue to receive updates to ANY package you have installed with a proposed update…

Not so hard - you've contributed to Xubuntu, and made life just a little bit better for other people.

#subtopic SRU Questions

#topic Point release, Milestone and Daily testing

First, we run testing for point releases (for example, 16.04.2) for an LTS release. We'll make calls for testing those as required. Note that these happen parallel to a normal development cycle and the tests need to be done with the current LTS release, not the release in development.

The second type is milestone testing: the Alpha, Beta and Release Candidate milestones of the current development release. We don't always take part in all milestones - usually more with LTS releases - but not necessarily so.

Before we go any further I want to make one very important point…

A milestone is JUST a snapshot of the current release in development. The milestones are useful for developers as it helps them and testers synchronize to one common state for a few days.

It is of no use once the milestone has passed.

The day after the milestone finishes, the archive is unfrozen and updates come through and the milestone is now out of date. Using old milestones isn't recommended or sensible - packages are updated very often during the development and it's better to just get the latest daily. (Milestones also aren't suitable for the general public as they aren't necessarily any stabler than any arbitrary daily.)

There are 2 main ways that you can test Xubuntu: either on a virtual machine or on hardware - the choice is up to you and what you have available.

We'd prefer people to be able to test on hardware because that let's us discover more “natural” bugs, but we also understand that you live in the real world and your PC doesn't belong to Xubuntu QA.

So, moving on then. We will call for testing of any milestone shortly before it's due, which gives people warning to put aside 20 minutes or so. There's no need for people to run through all the tests you might see for a milestone. Hopefully there will be more than just you running them. Obviously running tests which haven't been run is more important than doubling up.

You will see a link to the tracker in the mail, that will point you to somewhere like

On that page you'll see all of the tests needed to be run. Some of them are “Mandatory” and others are “Run once”. If you see results listed against all the options - pick one. If there are gaps - pick those ;)

Run through the testcase you have picked EXACTLY how it is written - hopefully there will be no bugs and you can just mark it as Passed.

If you do find an issue, check the list at the bottom for known bugs - someone might have already seen it. When you find any bugs, add the bug number and report a Failed result. (Note that you can drag and drop bug links to the bug fields and the tracker will automatically parse the bug number correctly for you.)

Finally, the last type of testing is Daily testing. In daily testing you do exactly the same as with the milestone testing, you'll just find Daily testing on the tracker. The daily testing item runs all the way through the cycle refreshing overnight (2AM UTCish).

There is a simple run through of the ISO testing in general at

#subtopic Milestone and Daily Questions

#topic Package Testing

The next section deals with how we can test packages.

In addition to the ISO tracker we looked at a moment ago, we also have a package tracker. This lists which packages we need testing and a testcase to run for each. Though it is likely this cycle that Thunar, at least, will see additional testcases added. is the testcase we provide for you to test Catfish.

As you can see it's pretty basic and lists exactly what we want. If you get to the end with no errors - pass it. If you find an issue - check at the end for already reported bugs, if it matches then you can use that bug number to Fail the test against.

If you find a new issue, then you need to report it. The simplest way is to use apport. To do this, open a terminal and run “ubuntu-bug packagename” - for example: ubuntu-bug catfish

You now need to wait for apport to finish and then you can complete the bug report in your browser when it is ready for you. When finished you can use the new bug number to fail your testcase against. It also helps to report bugs in Xfce packages upstream at and link to the Xfce bug in Launchpad - we'll touch on that in the last section.

What happens when a bug gets fixed?

We'll mail testers and ask for that testcase to be re-run. Simply run through the testcase once more - hopefully this time you can pass it.

Sometimes you will find that a testcase is out of date - so what might appear to be a bug is in fact correct - we have a bug here - but it's with the testcase, and needs to be reported here:

Fill in a bug report for the testcase with as much information as is possible, especially give the testcase number, you can find this by using the 'Detailed information on the testcase' button - we will edit the testcase pretty quickly - we have tame Manual Testcase Admins amongst us.

Before we move on to the last part of the session (which is running the development release on your daily computer) lets pause for any questions here - I'll be afk for a short while the kettle boils …

#subtopic Package Testing Questions

#topic Exploratory testing

Exploratory testing is a term made up by Nick Skaggs (I assume) of Canonical which effectively means installing the development version and using it daily, for your daily tasks (and not a prespecified set of testcases).

Which is what I do. While I'm using it, I'm watching for bugs in our packages, I'm trying to check that visually we get no regressions and generally trying to ensure that we release the next supported version in as good a state as is possible.

I'll go through how I have my installs set up to give you some idea of what I've worked out to be the safest way to keep on rolling along.

I have 1 install of the last LTS which I keep around and 2 installs of the latest development version.

I have no data in any of these installs - all my data lives on other drives and is either mounted in fstab, linked to with a symbolic link or in the case of both Firefox and Thunderbird - the profile.ini points to the data.

The LTS is pretty much left alone until I need to check bugs or SRUs for that release.

The first of the development installs is what I use every day - I'm using it now. The other is my backup and has all the necessary links to enable me to boot it up and use it if necessary. I don't even boot it to keep it updated, I chroot to it and update packages there from this install. I tend to wait a day before updating if there's a package that could possibly cause problems and to make sure I've been able to boot into my daily install.

This second development install is without PPAs so I'm able to check what our default install is up to.

Personally I let grub run from my current development release - but I always have a USB handy in case grub goes pfffft… You can easily enough reinstall grub and let it be controlled from one of your other installs from the live desktop.

#subtopic PPAs

Xubuntu has a set of official PPAs which we use for testing new packages. These are:


The last of these currently has no packages available for the Artful release, so it's listed now only as a possibility for use during this current cycle.

In addition we have one more PPA for the Xfce packages that have already been ported to GTK3:

I have all 4 of these 'current' PPAs installed locally. These give me the most up to date Xfce packages available to Xubuntu.

So - that's how I'm set up locally.


I am 1 person … during a cycle we usually see about 5 or 6 people reporting on the trackers. We need more people to try to join this effort to make the Xubuntu we release is still what we want it to be. Getting bugs reported a week after we release helps no-one and with only a 9 month cycle for the most part it's unlikely that many of those will get fixed. More useful for us to see bugs reported much much earlier. If in the past you've found issues when you have installed a new version you'll understand that.

#subtopic Bug reporting

Reporting bugs using ubuntu-bug can be troublesome when you're using a package from a PPA, but for packages originating from the repo's you can follow the “ubuntu-bug packagename” route.

When you want to report a bug against a package originating in a PPA, you need to manually file it and also be prepared to supply information when asked for it by a developer. To do that, you can use: which will error, so don't open it - a real example would be

Fill in the summary and then add as many details as you can. It is more likely that reporting this way developers will ask for more details.

To report an Xfce bug upstream, go to and file your bug (check for duplicates first using the Search facility) the method is pretty similar to Launchpad - but is manual.

When you have your Xfce bug you can set your Launchpad bug to watch it, details for that can be found on the Ubuntu wiki at

#subtopic Virtual Machines

You could at a pinch run a virtual machine with the latest development version and use that for everything, but I suspect that the lure of not running inside a vm would be something to watch for - I know that I would soon end up running a supported release in that case. But the only person who can make that choice for you is you ;)

#subtopic Exploratory Questions

#topic Git

Finally I just want to touch on a subject that's quite new to us as Xubuntu QA, building and testing Xfce packages built from the Xfce Git repositories.

During this cycle - as and when we're asked - we are likely to ask people to test fixes prior to them getting as far as PPAs. Duck out if you're not sure here.

Generally it's a painless experience as long as you've got the build dependencies installed - we used this method a couple of times towards the end of the Zesty cycle testing Thunar patches.

You'll need to install the build-essential package before the first time you build packages. After that, the process is simply the following: get the build-deps, grab the Git source, grab the patch and apply it, build it and then test it.

Whether we see more of this coming to us as testers via the mailing list is hard to say at the moment.

We'll not just now bother with questions on this last section, but if there are any more general questions - feel free to ask them now.

#subtopic - Free Questions

Thanks everyone for coming along and we hope to see you on the two trackers.