EDOS-Tools Tutorial: EDOS Tools for Linux Distributions Dependencies Management and Quality Assurance


Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) distributions are the results of the effort of third party actors in collecting independently developed software products, in a consistent and usable form. The widespread adoption of these distributions as infrastructural components in many strategic contexts of the information technology society has drawn the attention on the issues regarding how to handle the complexity of assembling and managing a huge number of (packaged) components and how to guarantee their quality. This tutorial will describe how the EDOS project has tackled these issues. First it will describe the problems related to the quality assurance of Linux distributions and will present the tools that have been developed to manage testing process. It will then introduce the problems that occur when managing inter-package relations in large package repositories and will showcase tools that can be used to analyze and manage large package repositories.

Target audience: OSS distributions practitioners, developers, testers.

Keywords: OSS Quality Assurance, OSS Distributions, Packages, Linux Distributions Management Tools.


The tutorial will consist of two parts.
The first part will introduce the issues related to testing and quality assurance of heterogeneous open source packages and present tools developed in the EDOS project for managing Linux distribution testing and quality assurance processes. The tutorial will detail the use of the following tools:

  • testrunner: a tool for conducting automatic and manual test
  • TULIP: a tool to test upgrades of Linux installations
  • test portal: a web portal for test management

In the second one we will briefly introduce the problems regarding the management of inter-package relations (dependencies and conflicts) in large package repositories and present a tool set that can be used by distribution editors to analyze and manipulate repositories in order to find potential problems due to incorrect relation specifications. The tutorial will focus on the following tools:

  • debcheck: package dependencies correctness checker
  • history: historical analysis and manipulation of package repositories
  • anla: a web service for package repository exploration
  • tart: a distribution "thinner" for building custom distributions

Short Biography

François Déchelle is a freelance consultant specialized in free software and Linux and an old-time contributor to OSS projects. He authored jMax, a visual programming environment for building interactive real-time music and multimedia applications, and he contributed to the Agnula Project, aiming to spread Libre Software in the professional audio and video arena. He is currently also actively involved in the development of EyeDB, an object-oriented database management system.
He has been involved in the EDOS Project as a development coordinator since August 2006, contributing to the research and development of the solutions concerning the Testing and Quality Assurance Framework, in the EDOS Work Package 3 Team.

Fabio Mancinelli received his PhD degree in Computer Science from the University of L'Aquila (Italy).
His current research interests are in Software Engineering processes and methodologies applied to Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), and the management of large software repositories for improving the quality of FOSS distributions. Previous research focused on mobile computing and adaptable program development.
He has been involved as a researcher in the EDOS Project since April 2005, contributing to the research and development of the solutions concerning the Formal Software Dependency Management, in the EDOS Work Package 2 Team. A partial list of publications is available at http://www.fabiomancinelli.org/publications/index.php


  • Apr 30 2007

    Program Updated.

  • Apr 30 2007

    Panels inserted.

  • Apr 18, 2007

    Workshop FOSLET '07 has been canceled.

  • Apr 16, 2007

    Program published.

  • Dec 15, 2006

    Conference Registration System is now opened.

  • Dec 11, 2006

    Paper Submission extended to Jan 19th, 2007.

  • Nov 17, 2006

    Paper Submission is now open.

  • Aug 21, 2006

    Oss 2007 web site released.