Triaging Debian build failure logs with collab-qa-tools

The Ruby team is working now on transitioning to ruby 3.0. Even though most packages will work just fine, there is substantial amount of packages that require some work to adapt. We have been doing test rebuilds for a while during transitions, but usually triaged the problems manually.

This time I decided to try collab-qa-tools, a set of scripts Lucas Nussbaum uses when he does archive-wide rebuilds. I'm really glad that I did, because those tols save a lot of time when processing a large number of build failures. In this post, I will go through how to triage a set of build logs using collab-qa-tools.

I have some some improvements to the code. Given my last merge request is very new and was not merged yet, a few of the things I mention here may apply only to my own ruby3.0 branch.

collab-qa-tools also contains a few tools do perform the builds in the cloud, but since we already had the builds done, I will not be mentioning that part and will write exclusively about the triaging tools.

Installing collab-qa-tools

The first step is to clone the git repository. Make sure you have the dependencies from debian/control installed (a few Ruby libraries).

One of the patches I sent, and was already accepted, is the ability to run it without the need to install:

source /path/to/collab-qa-tools/

This will add the tools to your $PATH.


The first think you need to do is getting all your build logs in a directory. The tools assume .log file extension, and they can be named ${PACKAGE}_*.log or just ${PACKAGE}.log.

Creating a TODO file

cqa-scanlogs | grep -v OK > todo

todo will contain one line for each log with a summary of the failure, if it's able to find one. collab-qa-tools has a large set of regular expressions for finding errors in the build logs

It's a good idea to split the TODO file in multiple ones. This can easily be done with split(1), and can be used to delimit triaging sessions, and/or to split the triaging between multiple people. For example this will create todo into todo00, todo01, ..., each containing 30 lines:

split --lines=30 --numeric-suffixes todo todo


You can now do the triaging. Let's say we split the TODO files, and will start with todo01.

The first step is calling cqa-fetchbugs (it does what it says on the tin):

cqa-fetchbugs --TODO=todo01

Then, cqa-annotate will guide you through the logs and allow you to report bugs:

cqa-annotate --TODO=todo01

I wrote myself a wrapper script for cqa-fetchbugs and cqa-annotate that looks like this:


set -eu

for todo in $@; do
  # force downloading bugs
  awk '{print(".bugs." $1)}' "${todo}" | xargs rm -f
  cqa-fetchbugs --TODO="${todo}"

  cqa-annotate \
    --template=template.txt.jinja2 \

The --template option is a recent contribution of mine. This is a template for the bug reports you will be sending. It uses Liquid templates, which is very similar to Jinja2 for Python. You will notice that I am even pretending it is Jinja2 to trick vim into doing syntax highlighting for me. The template I'm using looks like this:

From: {{ fullname }} <{{ email }}>
Subject: {{ package }}: FTBFS with ruby3.0: {{ summary }}

Source: {{ package }}
Version: {{ version | split:'+rebuild' | first }}
Severity: serious
Justification: FTBFS
Tags: bookworm sid ftbfs
Usertags: ruby3.0


We are about to enable building against ruby3.0 on unstable. During a test
rebuild, {{ package }} was found to fail to build in that situation.

To reproduce this locally, you need to install ruby-all-dev from experimental
on an unstable system or build chroot.

Relevant part (hopefully):
{% for line in extract %}> {{ line }}
{% endfor %}

The full build log is available at{{ package }}/{{ filename | replace:".log",".build.txt" }}

The cqa-annotate loop

cqa-annotate will parse each log file, display an extract of what it found as possibly being the relevant part, and wait for your input:

######## ruby-cocaine_0.5.8-1.1+rebuild1633376733_amd64.log ########
--------- Error:
     Failure/Error: undef_method :exitstatus

       can't modify frozen object: pid 2351759 exit 0
     # ./spec/support/unsetting_exitstatus.rb:4:in `undef_method'
     # ./spec/support/unsetting_exitstatus.rb:4:in `singleton class'
     # ./spec/support/unsetting_exitstatus.rb:3:in `assuming_no_processes_have_been_run'
     # ./spec/cocaine/errors_spec.rb:55:in `block (2 levels) in <top (required)>'

Deprecation Warnings:

Using `should` from rspec-expectations' old `:should` syntax without explicitly enabling the syntax is deprecated. Use the new `:expect` syntax or explicitly enable `:should` with `config.expect_with(:rspec) { |c| c.syntax = :should }` instead. Called from /<<PKGBUILDDIR>>/spec/cocaine/command_line/runners/backticks_runner_spec.rb:19:in `block (2 levels) in <top (required)>'.

If you need more of the backtrace for any of these deprecations to
identify where to make the necessary changes, you can configure
`config.raise_errors_for_deprecations!`, and it will turn the
deprecation warnings into errors, giving you the full backtrace.

1 deprecation warning total

Finished in 6.87 seconds (files took 2.68 seconds to load)
67 examples, 1 failure

Failed examples:

rspec ./spec/cocaine/errors_spec.rb:54 # When an error happens does not blow up if running the command errored before execution

/usr/bin/ruby3.0 -I/usr/share/rubygems-integration/all/gems/rspec-support-3.9.3/lib:/usr/share/rubygems-integration/all/gems/rspec-core-3.9.2/lib /usr/share/rubygems-integration/all/gems/rspec-core-3.9.2/exe/rspec --pattern ./spec/\*\*/\*_spec.rb --format documentation failed
ERROR: Test "ruby3.0" failed:
ERROR: Test "ruby3.0" failed:      Failure/Error: undef_method :exitstatus
package: ruby-cocaine
lines: 30
s: skip
i: ignore this package permanently
r: report new bug
f: view full log
Action [s|i|r|f]:

You can then choose one of the options:

  • s - skip this package and do nothing. You can run cqa-annotate again later and come back to it.
  • i - ignore this package completely. New runs of cqa-annotate won't ask about it again.

    This is useful if the package only fails in your rebuilds due to another package, and would just work when that other package gets fixes. In the Ruby transition this happens when A depends on B, while B builds a C extension and failed to build against the new Ruby. So once B is fixed, A should just work (in principle). But even if A would even have problems of its own, we can't really know before B is fixed so we can retry A.

  • r - report a bug. cqa-annotate will expand the template with the data from the current log, and feed it to mutt. This is currently a limitation: you have to use mutt to report bugs.

    After you report the bug, cqa-annotate will ask if it should edit the TODO file. In my opinion it's best to not do this, and annotate the package with a bug number when you have one (see below).

  • f - view the full log. This is useful when the extract displayed doesn't have enough info, or you want to inspect something that happened earlier (or later) during the build.

When there are existing bugs in the package, cqa-annotate will list them among the options. If you choose a bug number, the TODO file will be annotated with that bug number and new runs of cqa-annotate will not ask about that package anymore. For example after I reported a bug for ruby-cocaine for the issue listed above, I aborted with a ctrl-c, and when I run my script again I then get this prompt:

ERROR: Test "ruby3.0" failed:      Failure/Error: undef_method :exitstatus
package: ruby-cocaine
lines: 30
s: skip
i: ignore this package permanently
1: 996206 serious ruby-cocaine: FTBFS with ruby3.0: ERROR: Test "ruby3.0" failed:      Failure/Error: undef_method :exitstatus ||
r: report new bug
f: view full log
Action [s|i|1|r|f]:

Chosing 1 will annotate the TODO file with the bug number, and I'm done with this package. Only a few other hundreds to go.