Harness source availability; was: Re: JavaSE 7 build 15 is available at the openjdk.java.net website

Mark Wielaard mark at klomp.org
Sat Jul 7 00:49:50 UTC 2007

Hi David,

On Fri, 2007-07-06 at 10:21 -0700, David Herron wrote:
> Mark Wielaard wrote:
> > BTW. When will the source code for jtreg be released?
> I cannot answer about jtreg source code release, that's a question for 
> others to answer.  But I am curious for some data which will help with a 
> proposal I'm due to make next week.
> Is it required, from your perspective, that the harness source be 
> available?  If so, why?
> I think there's no legal requirement .. that an open source test can be 
> executed by a binary-only harness so long as there's license 
> compatibility allowing for this.

Well a binary harness is just not free software. So we immediately have
the practical problem that those people only working with free software
will not make use of any of the tests. These people include the distro
packagers (like Fedora and Debian). This is a problem since to make sure
the quality of packages is maintained the testsuite is often run during
the package build process. If the harness isn't free software then it
and all the tests that are dependent on it cannot be distributed with
the package (sources) and so any derivative distribution (think rhel ->
centos, debian -> ubuntu, or liveCDs derived from some existing distro,
etc) that rebuilds the packages for their platform (which might have
subtle differences like the exact library versions, or just a different
default set of optimisations) doesn't get to run those tests and so
there is less compatibility and quality assurance.

> The impending proposal I'm due to make is about release of some tests 
> from the quality team.  There are various considerations under which we 
> are likely to release those tests using a harness that's used by the 
> quality team and to keep our cost low the proposal is to release this 
> harness as a binary, just as jtreg has been released as a binary.  It 
> would help me to understand your thinking regarding a binary harness.

It would be a shame if you wouldn't release parts if you cannot at the
moment also release the harness. So please do release as much as you
feel comfortable with. But don't be surprised if people will want to
replace the harness with something based on free software. Just like
they are doing for the binary plugs in the openjdk libraries. It is just
what people like best, having (and creating) a full set of free tools.

And in the long run it is also the most pragmatic solution since given
enough time there will be some reason to want to change or adapt such a
harness. Maybe it actually has a bug! Or it is missing some feature (and
you can be sure that day will come the more you rely on it).



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