[gmx-developers] could somebody fix the regressiontests package?

Szilárd Páll szilard.pall at cbr.su.se
Wed Feb 27 19:53:40 CET 2013

On Wed, Feb 27, 2013 at 6:51 PM, Mark Abraham <mark.j.abraham at gmail.com>wrote:

> On Tue, Feb 26, 2013 at 9:31 PM, Szilárd Páll <szilard.pall at cbr.su.se>wrote:
>> On Tue, Feb 26, 2013 at 5:50 PM, Roland Schulz <roland at utk.edu> wrote:
>>> On Tue, Feb 26, 2013 at 10:25 AM, Szilárd Páll <szilard.pall at cbr.su.se>wrote:
>>>>  Bump!
>>>>  I have not had time to figure out a solution. Does anybody have
>>>> suggestions on how to fix this?
>>> you simply upload a fixed version. I think the proper fix is that for
>>> the git version, git is used to download. It only makes sense to download a
>>> TGZ from http if the source is also a tar ball. But I was waiting for us to
>>> decide whether we will change regressiontests to a submodule before I
>>> change that.
>> I see. I would still like to have it fixed asap and would have done it
>> myself, but Mark suggested that one can not simply replace a file.
>>>> I have a serious concern: as nobody has noticed this except me, I think
>>>> people are simply running the regressiontests (while I do know that many
>>>> people are using the source from git). I tend to think this is a problem of
>>>> communication/documentation and we should try to improve on this aspect.
>>>> Not only that if the tests are not used it was a half-futile effort to make
>>>> them work, but knowing how fragile intrinsic-based kernels are, it is also
>>>> dangerous.
>>> According to https://code.google.com/p/gromacs/downloads/list the 4.6
>>> was downloaded 328. I think this makes this useful. master was only
>>> downloaded 15 so it seems that my assumption that it is mostly useful to
>>> people with tar ball not git is mostly true.
>> In general, I don't think we should jump to conclusions just yet because:
> I'm not sure what the conclusion is to which you might be objecting. Users
> have downloaded the tests, which is a good thing. We haven't had a forest
> of complaints about it, but we can't know whether that's a good or bad
> thing.

This one: "seems that my assumption that it is mostly useful to people with
tar ball not git is mostly true".

AFAIK most advanced users would expect to get a tarball or git code with
self-contained README/INSTALL files that provide brief information on,
among other things, compilation. As the INSTALL file in the release was not
updated, it doesn't mention "make check" & related things.

>> - The feature has just been introduced;
>> - I have the feeling that validating a GROMACS build has not been
>> encouraged enough:
>>   - I just realized hat even the release notes do not mention this new
>> feature (added).
>>   - The INSTALL file does not mention it;
>>   - It might be a good idea to write a separate email about it to the
>> mailing list (will do it, but I'd prefer to have the issue fixed first);
>> - As the auto-download with git source has been buggy some might have
>> simply switched to simply checking out the regressiontests repo exactly
>> because of the bug.
> Contributions of time are welcome. I'm paid to manage the development of
> GROMACS, but if I fixed every little blemish any of us can see, then 5.0
> will never happen. :-) If there's a reasonable way for users to find out
> that we have some tests (e.g. the install guide on the web) and to run them
> fairly easily (which they can do two different ways) then I think we've
> done well.

While I've been using *NIX and OSS software not much longer than a decade,
AFAIK README, INSTALL, and CHAGELOG files are the standard. Feel free to
correct me on this if I'm wrong.

> While it is probably true that the tarballs are more useful for users
>> downloading the source, I do think that it there are many advanced users
>> using the git code-base who would benefit from it. I can only guess that
>> these more advanced users are probably less likely to read through the
>> install guide or simply be more confident that they'd notice if something
>> goes wrong because of mis-compilation or other platform-specific bugs.
>> Hence, although the number of users using git code is probably much smaller
>> than source-tarball users, I would guess that these users are more likely
>> to simply not be aware of the integrated regression-tests.
> I don't follow you. If any kind of user won't scan the table of contents
> of an install guide on the web, and thereby manages to remain ignorant that
> we have some automated testing, that's a problem to which they've
> contributed.

I disagree. Se above

> If we offer an automated tarball download, then we should make it work
> correctly. I have replaced the old tarball with one that works. I've also
> built and uploaded a 4.6.1 test tarball, and updated the machinery by which
> we do this for future patch releases.

Great. I'll put together an email after 4.6.1 which briefly explains what
is regression testing and why should everybody do it.


> Mark
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