This post is going to be all about the ISO Testing Tracker. You might know it already, it’s been with us for a while. But, like old friends, sometimes you need a reminder that they are there and give them a hug. But before we continue with the tracker, let’s start with the basics:
What’s ISO Testing?
If you are reading this, you would probably know that Ubuntu has a 6-month release cycle, which means that every 6 months we have a new Ubuntu release, ready to install.
The good thing about software fixed cycles is that you can schedule anything you want. In fact, for Ubuntu, we schedule just at the beginning of the cycle up to 8 development releases. You can check at the Karmic schedule that there was an Alpha 1, Alpha 2, Alpha 3, Alpha 4, Alpha 5 and Alpha 6. And that there’s going to be a Beta and a Release Candidate before the “real” Ubuntu 9.10.
Those milestones need to be tested properly, because we release CDs for people to test on their hardware, and we have to make sure that everything is more or less OK. (with “more or less” I mean that these milestones are still software in development, so you have to be careful, anyway).
How do we track milestone testing?
So, here it is how the tracker appears in the show. Milestone releases happen normally on Thursdays. On Monday, in scheduled milestone weeks, testers start looking at the tracker looking for the candidate images: the ISOs that might be announced as the “Karmic Alpha something”. But these images need to be tested before they get announced.
How is the test tracker structured?
At Ubuntu, we produce builds for many different *buntu flavours. In the ISO Tracker we have a category for each of them. You can filter by category using the “Filter” menu in the bottom left of the page. That would allow you to concentrate in the flavour you want to test.
Once you select a category, you will be able to select an image to download for that category. A category like “Kubuntu” may have different images: i386 Live CD, amd64 alternate, etc., and all of them need to be tested before releasing a milestone.
If you click now in any of those images, you will have access to a direct link of the ISO to download and a selection of tests that you may run for that image. For every test, there is a link to the test case description in the test case wiki. The test cases are easy to follow when running any of them.
So, to sum up, every category contains a set of ISO images and every image contains at least one test case.
How do I help?
As I wrote before, the week of the release of a milestone we need a lot of help testing the candidate images. If we want full coverage we need to run more than 150 test cases. If you have a spare machine or a virtual machine installed, you can help making Ubuntu better by running the untested test cases during the week of the release of a milestone.
First thing, you will need an account in the ISO tracker. Unfortunately, your Launchpad Open ID won’t work for this site (indeed something that needs to be improved). Click on “Log in” and fill the requested data. As the page explains, if you already have an account in Ubuntu Brainstorm, you can use it for the ISO Testing Tracker.
Once you have an account just select the image you want to test, choose a test case for that image, start running the installation in a virtual machine or a spare machine and report any bugs you may find in Launchpad.
Once finished, you have to report back in the ISO Testing Tracker. Click on the test case you have run and report Pass/Fail depending on your success. You can also add the bug numbers of the bugs you found. They will be linked to the Launchpad bug and it will help the release team to track them.
The time is NOW!
Next week, on Thursday 1st of October, we are releasing Ubuntu Karmic Beta, which eventually will become Ubuntu 9.10. This is a very important milestone, because many people upgrade during the beta, so it is very important to release something very stable at this point. From Monday, 27th of September, we will be testing the candidate images at #ubuntu-testing. I will send reminders to the different mailing lists later this week and at the beginning of next week, but you can start right now creating your account and making yourself familiar with the ISO Testing Tracker.
Help us releasing Ubuntu better and better every 6 months! And remember that we are always at #ubuntu-testing if you need to ask any question!