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Re: serial-tests option and backwards compatibility

From: Luke Mewburn
Subject: Re: serial-tests option and backwards compatibility
Date: Mon, 4 Feb 2013 11:16:27 +1100
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.20 (2009-12-10)

On Wed, Jan 16, 2013 at 12:12:13PM +0100, Stefano Lattarini wrote:
  | On 01/15/2013 07:32 PM, Brandon Black wrote:
  | > So my conundrum is this: in automake-1.13, the default switched from 
  | > testing to parallel testing.  The only way I can see to disable this is to
  | > add "serial-tests" to my AM_INIT_AUTOMAKE.  However, my AM_INIT_AUTOMAKE
  | > also only requires version 1.11.6, which I'd like to continue supporting,
  | > and these older versions of automake will barf on the invalid option
  | > "serial-tests" (I also tried "no-parallel-tests", but that's also 
  | > 
  | Yes, the "serial-tests" option was unfortunately only introduced in
  | Automake 1.12.

We use autotest extensively, and our test scenario is rather complex
and relies upon the existing serial behaviour; we setup file systems
and databases, we start daemons, etc.  We can't use parallel tests
at this time.

If parallel tests supported a dependency graph a la make or tsort
then we could possibly take advantage of that.

In my humble opinion, providing an option to control a feature in
a major release (1.12.x) then change the default for that feature
in the next major release (1.13.x) 7 months later is too short a period.
Especially when the time between previous major releases was 2.5 years.

Examining the Changelog and release dates:

 2009-12-08  Release automake 1.11.1

 2012-02-21  Add "serial-tests" support (in "HEAD")

 2012-04-13  Release automake 1.11.5 (without "serial-tests")

 2012-05-18  Parallel tests now the default (in "HEAD", not 1.11.x)

 2012-06-01  Release automake 1.12.1 (with "serial-tests")

 2013-01-01  Release automake 1.13.1 (parallel tests now default)

This isn't the only backwards incompatible change made recently,
and in my humble opinion I think the timeframes introducing
backwards incompatibility are too aggressive.

From a backwards-compatibility point of view, I think the default
should be reverted to serial tests, and make it clearer that
parallel tests are available as an option.


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