[Python-Dev] How to watch buildbots?

Eric Snow ericsnowcurrently at gmail.com
Fri Jun 1 13:03:48 EDT 2018

On Wed, May 30, 2018 at 7:36 AM, Nick Coghlan <ncoghlan at gmail.com> wrote:
> There are a few key details here:
> 1. We currently need to run post-merge CI anyway, as we're not doing
> linearised commits (where core devs just approve a change without merging
> it, and then a gating system like Zuul ensures that the tests are run
> against the latest combination of the target branch and the PR before
> merging the change)

This is more of a concern when non-conflicting PRs against the same
(or related) code are active at the same time.  For the CPython code
base this isn't as much of a problem, right?  Under normal
circumstances [fresh] active PRs typically do not run afoul of each
other.  Furthermore, during peak-activity events (like sprints) folks
tend to keep a closer eye on the buildbots.  I suppose
old-but-still-active PRs that previously passed CI could cause a
problem.  However, it would be unlikely for such a PR to sit for a
long time without needing changes before merging, whether to address
reviewer concerns or to resolve merge conflicts.

So post-merge CI (or merge gating) doesn't seem like much of a factor
for us.  In that regard I'd consider the buildbots more that

> 2. Since the buildbots are running on donated dedicated machines (rather
> than throwaway instances from a dynamic CI provider), we need to review the
> code before we let it run on the contributed systems
> 3. The buildbot instances run *1* build at a time,

...where each build incorporates potentially several merged PRs...

> which would lead to major
> PR merging bottlenecks during sprints if we made them a gating requirement

Agreed.  There's enough of a delay already when watching the buildbots
post-merge (especially some of them). :)

> 4. For the vast majority of PRs, the post-merge cross-platform testing is a
> formality, since the code being modified is using lower level cross-platform
> APIs elsewhere in the standard library, so if it works on Windows, Linux,
> and Mac OS X, it will work everywhere Python runs

This is especially true of changes proposed by non-core contributors.
It is also very true for buildbots with the OS/hardware combos that
match CI.  That said, when working with the C-API you can end up
breaking things on the less common OSes and hardware platforms.  So
*those* buildbots are invaluable.  I'm dealing with that right now.

> 5. We generally don't *want* to burden new contributors with the task of
> dealing with the less common (or harder to target) platforms outside the big
> 3 - when they do break, it often takes a non-trivial amount of platform
> knowledge to understand what's different about the platform in question

As hinted above, I would not expect new contributors to provide
patches very often (if ever) that would have the potential to cause
buildbot failures but not fail under CI.  So this point seems somewhat
moot. :)

> P.S. That said, if VSTS or Travis were to offer FreeBSD as an option for
> pre-merge CI, I'd suggest we enable it, at least in an advisory capacity -
> it's a better check against Linux-specific assumptions creeping into the
> code base than Mac OS X, since the latter is regularly different enough from
> other *nix systems that we need to give it dedicated code paths.



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