Testing and bug reporting

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  • Relevant to all editions of PCLinuxOS.

This page should give you a brief introduction to testing and bug reporting for PCLinuxOS.
If you are interested in contributing this way, please follow the instructions and join.


Testing and bug reporting is an important way to contribute to PCLinuxOS and make it perfect. PCLinuxOS relies on a dedicated band of testers to properly check each and every package in a separate testing section of its repository before being released for wider usage in the general section.

What is testing

Posted by Hootiegibbon on the forum.

Testing is the process to ensure that PCLinuxOS keeps rolling.

After packages (applications) are built and before they are launched into the stable environment each package is made available for testing to ensure that it does not adversely affect an install. These packages are placed into the "testing" section of the repository.

During the testing process, it is a possibility that an install is rendered broken, or have other problems. The testing process expects this and our testers work together to solve these issues.

How to enable testing

The "testing" section of the repository is accessible via an option within the Synaptic package manager.

  • Open Synaptic. Go to Settings > Repositories. Click and highlight the line corresponding to your mirror such that the URI box should show the address of your selected mirror.
  • Now look in the Section(s) box. You should see :

main updates nonfree kde games xfce4

  • Now click at the end of the above line and add testing at the end so that your line should now read :

main updates nonfree kde games xfce4 testing

The result should look like this : Synaptic enable testing.png

  • Click OK and hit Reload.

NOTE : Activating testing is a simple process, but one that renders your install unsupportable in the stable part of the forum. Contraindications to testing

It is not recommended to activate testing :

  • On a production machine or one that you have important information on.
  • If you feel that you are not able to troubleshoot or support an install yourself.

If you do not feel that you are experienced enough to activate testing DO NOT DO IT. Instead watch the threads within the testing area and see what is reported and the kind of issues that are faced. Eventually you may be confident enough to sign up as a tester.

How to join the list of testers

  • Go to this running thread http://www.pclinuxos.com/forum/index.php/topic,104577.0.html
  • Read the first post and then copy paste the disclaimer and then sign it.
  • Wait for a Personal Message from an administrator.
  • Reply if asked with a brief explanation as to why do you want to be a Tester.
  • Wait for approval.
  • Start testing away!

Points to ponder

  • Once you activate the testing section of the repository, you immediately lose support for that install in the "stable" part of the forum. For this reason alone we suggest that you use a separate partition or safer still a separate machine for your testing install.
  • Using real life hardware "bare-steel" is preferred. Virtual Box and its likes are not a good testing environment as the troubleshooting potential is very limited (as its not real hardware) but maybe alright for some application trouble shooting.
  • For this reason you must state that you are using a virtual instance when first joining a thread. Failure to do so may lead to your removal from the testing process.
  • By activating testing you accept that the install is temporary. On occasion you may be asked to reinstall in the process.
  • While beta release testing, if a newer beta release is made available, you must reinstall with the new version. Testing on out of date version can cause issues. Eg. When an announcement is made that beta 4.iso is available for testing but you have beta 3.iso installed, you must reinstall with the beta 4.iso and wipe the beta 3.iso install.
  • When you activate testing you are accepting that PCLinuxOS has no liability to loss of information or other issues that may develop from being an active tester.
  • When testing is activated, it is very important to ensure you do not install from external non-testing repository sources. This will taint your testing environment and give false information about your install should the external application replace existing libs (libraries) when it is installed.
  • How do you know from which section a package you are testing is in the testing repository?
    • By ensuring the components section is added to synaptic detail.
    • How?
    • In Synaptic package manager, go to Settings -> Preferences -> Fonts and columns and tick Components.
    • Now you can see from which section the package is.
  • Remember that the more information you supply, the better.
    • As in asking for support, if you don't tell us about what you have done and what results you got, we will not know.
    • And just as in a request for support, "It don't work" is not information; it is a story.
  • In testing 64 bit, or 32 bit for that matter :
    • Do your full upgrade without test section/testing section enabled.
    • After the upgrade, enable test/testing and Reload Synaptic.
    • Look for the packages you want to test and mark them for update/installation.
    • Apply.
  • It is neither necessary nor required that you do a full upgrade with test/testing enabled.
    • As we move packages from test to main when test reports show that they are working as they should with the system, it is better not to do the full upgrade from test/testing. That way we know that it is working with what we already have.
    • If you do the full upgrade with test enabled, we have no way to know if the test results are skewed in some way or not.
    • We do not want to move an app from test/testing to main only to have to reverse the process because of the differences in other packages.
  • Logs can be a wealth of troubleshooting information.
    • Although some application program logs can be scattered around the file system's directories, many of them are somewhere in your user's home directory.
    • The most important system log files are kept in the /var/log directory.
  • Kernel updates are independent of general system updates for PCLinuxOS. So if possible test with both the default kernel for the latest .iso and with the latest kernel available in the repository.

How to know what is new for testing

   Enable testing section (32bit) or test section (64bit)
   Click on Reload in Synaptic, click on the Status button on lower left and then New in repository on the left. This will show you the new packages that have been added to be tested.
   New versions of packages that you have installed will show in the Upgradable list. 

Important links

   Testing hints and tips
   Testing section on the forum