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Publication Detail
Making data-driven porting decisions with Tuscan
  • Publication Type:
    Conference
  • Authors:
    Khazem K, Barr ET, Hosek P
  • Publication date:
    21/07/2018
  • Pagination:
    276, 286
  • Published proceedings:
    ISSTA 2018 - Proceedings of the 27th ACM SIGSOFT International Symposium on Software Testing and Analysis
  • ISBN-13:
    9781450356992
  • Status:
    Published
Abstract
© 2018 Association for Computing Machinery. Software typically outlives the platform that it was originally written for. To smooth the transition to new tools and platforms, programs should depend on the underlying platform as little as possible. In practice, however, software build processes are highly sensitive to their build platform, notably the implementation of the compiler and standard library. This makes it difficult to port existing, mature software to emerging platforms-web based runtimes like WebAssembly, resource-constrained environments for Internet-of-Things devices, or innovative new operating systems like Fuchsia. We present Tuscan, a framework for conducting automatic, deterministic, reproducible tests on build systems. Tuscan is the first framework to solve the problem of reproducibly testing builds cross-platform at massive scale.We also wrote a build wrapper, Red, which hijacks builds to tolerate common failures that arise from platform dependence, allowing the test harness to discover errors later in the build. Authors of innovative platforms can use Tuscan and Red to test the extent of unportability in the software ecosystem, and to quantify the effort necessary to port legacy software. We evaluated Tuscan by building an operating system distribution, consisting of 2,699 Red-wrapped programs, on four platforms, yielding a 'catalog' of the most common portability errors. This catalog informs data-driven porting decisions and motivates changes to programs, build systems, and language standards; systematically quantifies problems that platform writers have hitherto discovered only on an ad-hoc basis; and forms the basis for a common substrate of portability fixes that developers can apply to their software.
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