One of the best things to come out of the development cycle for Fedora 11 is a continuous stream of test daysJames Laska with the help of Adam Williamson shows up every week to lead the charge–sometimes twice in the same week.

Before Fedora 10 there were no official test days as we know them now.  Fedora 10 had a series of test days and when Fedora 11 came along they became the standard.  It always makes me smile when I read somewhere or hear someone say “we really need to have a test day for that.”  A year ago no would have been familiar with that term.  James just showed up and started arranging weekly test days and now the rest is history.  Just because James and Adam organize them doesn’t mean they don’t continue to need more help.

Another great thing that has happened during the Fedora 11 development cycle is live images created specifically for the test day–with the added bonus that are known to work good enough to install or run live.  I spent most of the test days during the Fedora 10 cycle just trying to get rawhide to install or update to a workable system.  This part of the ”rawhide process” is still broken–not having a canonical place to easily find out in advance whether rawhide is “good” that day or not.

What if someone else volunteered to be responsible for creating and making the live image available on test day?  The feature list for each new release continues to grow and there is no way that this ”core duo” can continue to do all the heavy lifting.  Talking to James it sounds like running two test days a week consumes a lot time more time than just those two days which is a lot of time itself.

So what does this mean?

A few ideas I have:

  • Link to each test day page from the feature page
  • What if during the planning phase of a release the QA team selected in advance which test days they would host and run?
  • Create a test day process that is more scalable and doesn’t depend solely on James and Adam to make them happen
  • What if there was a framework, kind of like the feature page process, where other non-regular QA team participants could propose and hold their own test days?

Test days beyond the ones owned by QA would be volunteer driven–much like the feature process.  The idea that if you show up to own and do the work it is yours.  And if you don’t prepare for and host the test day it doesn’t happen.

The QA team could still help advertise and schedule the test days, but the test case development, wiki page creation, image generation, etc. would be done by the people desiring the test day.  Which could mean anyone interested in Fedora. 🙂

It is definitely possible.  Look at this fantastic test day page for KVM created by virtualization developer Mark McLoughlin.  You can join in the fun and participate on May 7, 2009.  This page even tells you what you need to do before the test day starts, how many people are needed, and what kind of time commitment is required.  This clicks with the way I think and am motivated.

I am much more likely to commit time to something that looks well planned and sets out to honor my time and effort because the time I can commit is limited.  Most people with limited time are looking for a tangible practical place to plug in and help.  Well written test day pages provide that and help Fedora grow beyond where it is today.