DEP8 tests using the built package source

Martin Pitt mpitt at
Tue Mar 18 11:01:18 UTC 2014

Hello all,

Antonio Terceiro [2014-03-17  9:59 -0300]:
> On Sun, Mar 16, 2014 at 11:27:06PM +0100, Stephen Kitt wrote:
> > On Sun, 16 Mar 2014 17:39:20 -0300, Antonio Terceiro <terceiro at>
> > What bothers me is that the current DEP8 spec says that packages can rely on
> > having their source tree in the built state by stating "Restrictions:
> > build-needed", but effectively that imposes too much of a burden on the
> > testing infrastructure.

I think for small packages which build in a minute or two this isn't
much of a concern. It's often easier to just build the whole thing
than messing around with the build system to only build the testing
bits. Where that's possible and easy it can and should be done, of

I agree that it is a concern for bigger packages, as then the load on
the testing machines becomes quite high. If you just purely want to
build the test it may appear as an unnecessary overhead, but it's
actually often quite useful: When you are testing a package against an
updated dependency it's nice to ensure that building against that
still works. That way you can block packages in unstable/-proposed
that *cause* the (sometimes unintended) API change/breakage instead of
silently introducing it into testing/release and then only finding out
about that at the next full rebuild test.

I'm not saying that every package ought to add "build-needed" for
that, but it's a nice bonus for the packages which need to do it

FTR, we explicitly make use of that for our toolchain packages: gcc,
binutils, linux, and eglibc have a "bin/true" test with "needs build"
to ensure that whenever we update one piece, the others are still
buildable and their tests succeed (which run at build time). I know
that this is somewhat of an abuse of autopkgtest, but it does work :-)

> > Wouldn't it make sense to change DEP8 to encourage building
> > whatever is strictly required for the tests, and perhaps drop
> > "build-needed" altogether?

I wouldn't want to drop build-needed, as it only complicates things
for the cases where people want it. But I'm happy to add a stanza to
its documentation to avoid it for packages which take a nontrivial
amount of time to build; does that sound like an acceptable



Martin Pitt                        |
Ubuntu Developer (  | Debian Developer  (
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