|The purpose of GCC pretesting is to verify that the new GCC
|distribution, about to be released, works properly on your system *with
|no change whatever*, when installed following the precise
|recommendations that come with the distribution.
|Here are some guidelines on how to do pretesting so as to make it
|helpful. All of them follow from common sense together with the
|nature of the purpose and the situation.
|* It is absolutely vital that you mention even the smallest change or
|departure from the standard sources and installation procedure.
|Otherwise, you are not testing the same program that I wrote. Testing
|a different program is usually of no use whatever. It can even cause
|trouble if you fail to tell me that you tested some other program
|instead of what I know as GCC. I might think that GCC works, when in
|fact it has not been properly tried, and might have a glaring fault.
|* Even changing the compilation options counts as a change in the
|program. The GCC sources specify which compilation options to use.
|Some of them are specified in makefiles, and some in machine-specific
|You have ways to override this--but if you do, then you are not
|testing what ordinary users will do. Therefore, when pretesting, it
|is vital to test with the default compilation options.
|(It is okay to test with nonstandard options as well as testing with
|the standard ones.)
|* The machine and system configuration files of GCC are parts of
|GCC. So when you test GCC, you need to do it with the
|configuration files that come with GCC.
|If GCC does not come with configuration files for a certain machine,
|and you test it with configuration files that don't come with GCC,
|this is effectively changing GCC. Because the crucial fact about
|the planned release is that, without changes, it doesn't work on that
|To make GCC work on that machine, I would need to install new
|configuration files. That is not out of the question, since it is
|safe--it certainly won't break any other machines that already work.
|But you will have to rush me the legal papers to give the FSF
|permission to use a large piece of text.
|* Look for recommendations for your system.
|You can find these recommendations in the Installation node of the
|manual, and in the file INSTALL. (These two files have the same text.)
|These files say which configuration name to use for your machine, so
|use the ones that are recommended. If you guess, you might guess
|wrong and encounter spurious difficulties. What's more, if you don't
|follow the recommendations then you aren't helping to test that its
|recommendations are valid.
|These files may describe other things that you need to do to make GCC
|work on your machine. If so, you should follow these recommendations
|also, for the same reason.
|Also look at the Trouble chapter of the manual for items that
|pertain to your machine.
|* Don't delay sending information.
|When you find a problem, please double check it if you can do so
|quickly. But don't spend a long time double-checking. A good rule is
|always to tell me about every problem on the same day you encounter
|it, even if that means you can't find a solution before you report the
|I'd much rather hear about a problem today and a solution tomorrow
|than get both of them tomorrow at the same time.
|* Make each bug report self-contained.
|If you refer back to another message, whether from you or from someone
|else, then it will be necessary for anyone who wants to investigate
|the bug to find the other message. This may be difficult, it is
|To help me save time, simply copy the relevant parts of any previous
|messages into your own bug report.
|In particular, if I ask you for more information because a bug report
|was incomplete, it is best to send me the *entire* collection of
|relevant information, all together. If you send just the additional
|information, that makes me do extra work. There is even a risk that
|I won't remember what question you are sending me the answer to.
|* Always be precise when talking about changes you have made. Show
|things rather than describing them. Use exact filenames (relative to
|the main directory of the distribution), not partial ones. For
|example, say "I changed Makefile" rather than "I changed the
|makefile". Instead of saying "I defined the MUMBLE macro", send a
|diff that shows your change.
|* Always use `diff -c' to make diffs. If you don't include context,
|it may be hard for me to figure out where you propose to make the
|changes. I might have to ignore your patch because I can't tell what
|* When you write a fix, keep in mind that I can't install a change
|that would break other systems.
|People often suggest fixing a problem by changing machine-independent
|files such as toplev.c to do something special that a particular
|system needs. Sometimes it is totally obvious that such changes would
|break GCC for almost all users. I can't possibly make a change like
|that. All I can do is send it back to you and ask you to find a fix
|that is safe to install.
|Sometimes people send fixes that *might* be an improvement in
|general--but it is hard to be sure of this. I can install such
|changes some of the time, but not during pretest, when I am trying to
|get a new version to work reliably as quickly as possible.
|The safest changes for me to install are changes to the configuration
|files for a particular machine. At least I know those can't create
|bugs on other machines.
|* Don't try changing GCC unless it fails to work if you don't change it.
|* Don't even suggest changes that would only make GCC cleaner.
|Every change I install could introduce a bug, so I won't install
|a change unless I see it is necessary.
|* If you would like to suggest changes for purposes other than fixing
|serious bugs, don't wait till pretest time. Instead, send them just
|after I make a release. That's the best time for me to install them.
|* In some cases, if you don't follow these guidelines, your
|information might still be useful, but I might have to do more work to
|make use of it. Unfortunately, I am so far behind in my work that I
|just can't get the job done unless you help me to do it efficiently.
| Thank you