This is the final part of “Getting involved with Fedora”. Parts one to four covered the steps required to install Fedora into a virtualization system running on Windows 7. Part four also explained how to register an account with Fedora’s bug-tracking system. In this post one intends on testing the Fedora system with the hope of finding a defect in one of its software packages.
What to Test?
One of the hardest parts of testing a huge system such as Fedora is being focused. In my experience it’s best to focus your attention on one software package at a time. The more you tinker with the same package the more knowledge you gain about that package. As knowledge is power I would expect your bug finding skills to benefit from knowing the inner workings of any given package.
In order to test a package it is essential to understand the expected behaviour. This normally means understanding the inputs and outputs. Take for example the user and groups management utility system-config-users. This software package aims to provide system administrators with an interface for creating and maintaining users and groups. Therefore, if we can make it fail its goal we’ve found a bug!
Finding a bug?
I’ve already found a few bugs with the system-config-users utility. Here are the steps I performed to uncover one such bug:
Start system-config-users by selecting the GNOME menu option Application->Other->User and Groups:
Fedora will start the utility; however, as the utility requires escalated privileges to run you will be prompted for the root user’s password:
After submitting the credentials the utility will start:
From the Edit menu select the Preferences option:
Then from within the Preference screen un-tick the “Hide system users and groups” check-box and press Close. This will reveal the system users e.g.
Select the ‘root’ user and press the “Properties” button. This is will open a window that displays the root user’s details:
Remove the content of the home directory and press OK. Then close the utility. Once closed re-launch the utility:
Whoops, it didn’t start? Why not? Because we remove the home directory of root which I believe should be mandatory; thus, we’ve broken the system. Let’s prove this by starting a console and trying to log on as the root users:
Oh dear! I cannot log on as root. System-config-user has allowed be to omit the home directory; therefore, huge parts of the system are now broken.
We can now log this as a bug! One useful piece of information you’ll need is the version of the software at fault. This can be obtained by running the YUM command “yum list installed system-config-user” – see sample above. I actually logged this particular fault while ago and it can be viewed here https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=344111
. I’m not going to explain the details of logging a software bug because this information is covered in the on-line Bugzilla user guide.
That concludes this series. I hope it’s beneficial to some and allows you to get involved. All feedback welcome!