Usage of Virtualized GNU/Linux for Binary Testing Across Multiple Distributions

In this paper, we will discuss how we created a test environment using a single high-end test host that implemented multiple test hosts. The test environment enabled the testing of software running on different Linux distributions with different kernel versions. This approach improved test automation, avoided capital expenditures and saved on desktop real-estate. We employed a version of Gentoo Linux with a modified 2.6 kernel, along with multiple instances of different distributions and version of Linux running on User Mode Linux (UML). The particular tests involved are related to the Linux Standards Base, but the concept is applicable to many different environments.

We will describe how we improved aspects of the Gentoo kernel to improve performance. We will describe the methods used to affect a lightweight inter UML communications mechanism. We will also talk about the file systems chosen for both the host OS and the UML. Finally, we will have a brief discussion around the benefits and limitations of this type of test environment, and will discuss plans for future test environments.

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