Responsibilities of a buildbot owner

Hey all,

I have a couple of questions about what the responsibilities of a buildbot owner are. I’ve been maintaining a couple of buildbots for lldb and mlir for some time now and I thought I had a pretty good idea of what is required based on the documentation here: How To Add Your Build Configuration To LLVM Buildbot Infrastructure — LLVM 13 documentation

My understanding was that there are some things that are expected of the owner. Namely:

Stella,

Thank you for raising the question. This is a great discussion for us to have publicly.

So folks know, I am the individual Stella mentioned below. I’ll start with a bit of history so that everyone’s on the same page, then dive into the policy question.

My general take is that buildbots are only useful if failure notifications are generally actionable. A couple months back, I was on the edge of setting up mail filter rules to auto-delete a bunch of bots because they were regularly broken, and decided I should try to be constructive first. In the first wave of that, I emailed a couple of bot owners about things which seemed like false positives.

At the time, I thought it was the bot owners responsibility to not be testing a flaky configuration. I got a bit of push back on that from a couple sources - Stella was one - and put that question on hold. This thread is a great opportunity to decide what our policy actually is, and document it.

In the meantime, I’ve been working with Galina to document existing practice where we could, and to try to identify best practices on setting up bots. These changes have been posted publicly, and reviewed through the normal process. We’ve been deliberately trying to stick to non-controversial stuff as we got the docs improved. I’ve been actively reaching out to bot owners to gather feedback in this process, but Stella had not, yet, been one.

Separately, this week I noticed a bot which was repeatedly toggling between red and green. I forget the exact ratio, but in the recent build history, there were multiple transitions, seemingly unrelated to the changes being committed. I emailed Galina asking her to address, and she removed the buildbot until it could be moved to the staging buildmaster, addressed, and then restored. I left Stella off the initial email. Sorry about that, no ill intent, just written in a hurry.

Now, transitioning into a bit of policy discussion…

My personal take is that for a bot to be publicly notifying, “someone” needs to take the responsibility to backstop the normal revert to green process. This “someone” can be developers who work in a particular area, the bot owner, or some combination thereof. I view the responsibility of the bot config owner as being the person responsible for making sure that backstopping is happening. Not necessarily by doing it themselves, but by having the contacts with developers who can, and following up when the normal flow is not working.

In this particular example, we appear to have a bunch of flaky lldb tests. I personally know absolutely nothing about lldb. I have no idea whether the tests are badly designed, the system they’re being run on isn’t yet supported by lldb, or if there’s some recent code bug introduced which causes the failure. “Someone” needs to take the responsibility of figuring that out, and in the meantime spaming developers with inactionable failure notices seems undesirable.

For context, the bot was disabled until it could be moved to the staging buildmaster. Moving to staging is required (currently) to disable developer notification. In the email from Galina, it seems clear that the bot would be fine to move back to production once the issue was triaged. This seems entirely reasonable to me.

Philip

p.s. One thing I’ll note as a definite problem with the current system is that a lot of this happens in private email, and it’s hard to share so that everyone has a good picture of what’s going on. It makes miscommunications all too easy. Last time I spoke with Galina, we were tentative planning to start using github issues for bot operation matters to address that, but as that was in the middle of the transition from bugzilla, we deferred and haven’t gotten back to that yet.

p.p.s. The bot in question is if folks want to examine the history themselves.

Hi,

First: thanks a lot Stella for being a bot owner and providing valuable resources to the community. The sequence of even is really unfortunate here, and thank you for bringing it up to everyone’s attention, let’s try to improve our processes.

Stella,

Thank you for raising the question. This is a great discussion for us to have publicly.

So folks know, I am the individual Stella mentioned below. I’ll start with a bit of history so that everyone’s on the same page, then dive into the policy question.

My general take is that buildbots are only useful if failure notifications are generally actionable. A couple months back, I was on the edge of setting up mail filter rules to auto-delete a bunch of bots because they were regularly broken, and decided I should try to be constructive first. In the first wave of that, I emailed a couple of bot owners about things which seemed like false positives.

At the time, I thought it was the bot owners responsibility to not be testing a flaky configuration. I got a bit of push back on that from a couple sources - Stella was one - and put that question on hold. This thread is a great opportunity to decide what our policy actually is, and document it.

In the meantime, I’ve been working with Galina to document existing practice where we could, and to try to identify best practices on setting up bots. These changes have been posted publicly, and reviewed through the normal process. We’ve been deliberately trying to stick to non-controversial stuff as we got the docs improved. I’ve been actively reaching out to bot owners to gather feedback in this process, but Stella had not, yet, been one.

Separately, this week I noticed a bot which was repeatedly toggling between red and green. I forget the exact ratio, but in the recent build history, there were multiple transitions, seemingly unrelated to the changes being committed. I emailed Galina asking her to address, and she removed the buildbot until it could be moved to the staging buildmaster, addressed, and then restored. I left Stella off the initial email. Sorry about that, no ill intent, just written in a hurry.

Now, transitioning into a bit of policy discussion…

From my conversations with existing bot owners, there is a general agreement that bots should only be notifying the community if they are stable enough. There’s honest disagreement on what the bar for stable enough is, and disagreement about exactly whose responsibility addressing new instability is. (To be clear, I’d separate instability from a clear deterministic breakage caused by a commit - we have a lot more agreement on that.)

My personal take is that for a bot to be publicly notifying, “someone” needs to take the responsibility to backstop the normal revert to green process. This “someone” can be developers who work in a particular area, the bot owner, or some combination thereof. I view the responsibility of the bot config owner as being the person responsible for making sure that backstopping is happening. Not necessarily by doing it themselves, but by having the contacts with developers who can, and following up when the normal flow is not working.

In this particular example, we appear to have a bunch of flaky lldb tests. I personally know absolutely nothing about lldb. I have no idea whether the tests are badly designed, the system they’re being run on isn’t yet supported by lldb, or if there’s some recent code bug introduced which causes the failure. “Someone” needs to take the responsibility of figuring that out, and in the meantime spaming developers with inactionable failure notices seems undesirable.

I generally agree with the overall sentiment. I would add that something worse differentiating is that the source of flakiness can be coming from the bot itself (flaky hardware / fragile setup), or from the test/codebase itself (a flaky bot may just be a deterministic ASAN failure).
Of course from Philip’s point of view it does not matter: the effect on the developer is similar, we get undesirable and unactionable notifications. From the maintenance flow however, it matters in that the “someone” who has to take responsibility is often not the same group of folks.
Also when encountering flaky tests, the best action may not be to disable the bot itself but instead to disable the test itself! (and file a bug against the test owner…).

One more dimension that seems to surface here may be different practices or expectations across subprojects, for example here the LLDB folks may be used to having some flaky tests, but they trigger on changes to LLVM itself, where we may not expect any flakiness (or so).

For context, the bot was disabled until it could be moved to the staging buildmaster. Moving to staging is required (currently) to disable developer notification. In the email from Galina, it seems clear that the bot would be fine to move back to production once the issue was triaged. This seems entirely reasonable to me.

Something quite annoying with staging is that it does not have (as far as I know) a way to continue to notify the buildbot owner. I don’t really care about staging vs prod as much as having a mode to just “not notify the blame list” / “only notify the owner”.

+1 to most of what Mehdi’s said here - I’d love to see improvements in stability, though probably having some rigid delegation of responsibility (rather than relying on developers to judge whether it’s a flaky test or flaky bot - that isn’t always obvious, maybe it’s only flaky on a particular configuration that that buildbot happens to test and the developer doesn’t have access to - then which is it?) might help (eg: if it’s at all unclear, then the assumption is that it’s always the test or always the buildbot owner - and an expectation that the author or owner then takes responsibility for working with the other party to address the issue, etc).

That all said, disabling individual tests may risk no one caring enough to re-enable them, especially when the flakiness is found long after the change is made that introduced the test or flakiness (usually the case with flakiness - it takes a while to become apparent) - I don’t really know how to address that issue. The “convenience” with disabling a buildbot is that there’s other value to the buildbot (other than the flaky test that was providing negative value), so buildbot owners have more motivation to get the bot back online - though I don’t want to burden buildbot owners unduly either (because they’d eventually give up on them) :confused:

  • Dave

+CC lldb code owners

This bot appears to have been restored to the primary buildmaster, but is failing something like 1 in 5 builds due to lldb tests which are flaky.

Specifically, this test is the one failing:

commands/watchpoints/hello_watchlocation/TestWatchLocation.py

Can someone with LLDB context please either a) address the cause of the flakiness or b) disable the test?

Philip

p.s. Please restrict this sub-thread to the topic of stabilizing this bot. Policy questions can be addressed in the other sub-threads to keep this vaguely understandable.

This situation is somewhat complicated by the fact that Zachary - the only listed code owner for Windows support - hasn’t worked on lldb for quite a while now. Various people have been helping with the Windows port, but I’m not sure that there’s someone taking overall responsibility for the Windows port.

Greg may have access to a Windows system, but neither Jason nor I work on Windows at all. In fact, I don’t think anybody listed in the Code Owner’s file for lldb does much work on Windows. For the health of that port, we probably do need someone to organize the effort and help sort out this sort of thing.

Anyway, looking at the current set of bot failures for this Windows bot, I saw three basic classes of failures (besides the build breaks).

  1. Watchpoint Support:

TestWatchLocation.py wasn’t the only or even the most common Watchpoint failure in these test runs:

For instance in:

https://lab.llvm.org/buildbot/#/builders/83/builds/13600
https://lab.llvm.org/buildbot/#/builders/83/builds/13543

The failing test is TestWatchpointMultipleThreads.py.

On:

https://lab.llvm.org/buildbot/#/builders/83/builds/13579

https://lab.llvm.org/buildbot/#/builders/83/builds/13576

https://lab.llvm.org/buildbot/#/builders/83/builds/13565
https://lab.llvm.org/buildbot/#/builders/83/builds/13538

it’s TestSetWatchlocation.py

On:
https://lab.llvm.org/buildbot/#/builders/83/builds/13550
https://lab.llvm.org/buildbot/#/builders/83/builds/13508

It’s TestWatchLocationWithWatchSet.py

On:

https://lab.llvm.org/buildbot/#/builders/83/builds/13528

It’s TestTargetWatchAddress.py

These are all in one way or another failing because we set a watchpoint, and expected to hit it, and did not. In the failing tests, we do verify that we got a valid watchpoint back. We just “continue” expecting to hit it and don’t. The tests don’t seem to be doing anything suspicious that would cause inconsistent behavior, and they aren’t failing on other systems. It sounds more like the way lldb-server for Windows implements watchpoint setting is flakey in some way.

So these really are “tests correctly showing flakey behavior in the underlying code”. We could just skip all these watchpoint tests, but we already have 268-some odd tests that are marked as skipIfWindows, most with annotations that some behavior or other is flakey on Windows. It is not great for the platform support to just keep adding to that count, but if nobody is available to dig into the Windows watchpoint code, we probably need to declare Watchpoint support “in a beta state” and turn off all the tests for it. But that seems like a decision that should be made by someone with more direct responsibility for the Windows port.

Does our bot strategy cover how to deal with incomplete platform support on some particular platform? Is the only choice really just turning off all the tests that are uncovering flaws in the underlying implementation?

  1. Random mysterious failure:

I also saw one failure here:

https://lab.llvm.org/buildbot/#/builders/83/builds/13513

functionalities/load_after_attach/TestLoadAfterAttach.py

In that one, lldb sets a breakpoint, confirms that the breakpoint got a valid location, then continues and runs to completion w/o hitting the breakpoint. Again, that test is quite straightforward, and it looks like the underlying implementation, not the test, is what is at fault.

  1. lldb-server for Windows test failures:

In these runs:

https://lab.llvm.org/buildbot/#/builders/83/builds/13594
https://lab.llvm.org/buildbot/#/builders/83/builds/13580
https://lab.llvm.org/buildbot/#/builders/83/builds/13550
https://lab.llvm.org/buildbot/#/builders/83/builds/13535
https://lab.llvm.org/buildbot/#/builders/83/builds/13526
https://lab.llvm.org/buildbot/#/builders/83/builds/13525
https://lab.llvm.org/buildbot/#/builders/83/builds/13511
https://lab.llvm.org/buildbot/#/builders/83/builds/13498

The failure was in the Windows’ lldb-server implementation here:

tools/lldb-server/tests/./LLDBServerTests.exe/StandardStartupTest.TestStopReplyContainsThreadPcs

And there were a couple more lldb-server test fails:

https://lab.llvm.org/buildbot/#/builders/83/builds/13527
https://lab.llvm.org/buildbot/#/builders/83/builds/13524

Where the failure is:

tools/lldb-server/TestGdbRemoteExpeditedRegisters.py

MacOS doesn’t use lldb-server, so I am not particularly familiar with it, and didn’t look into these failures further.

Jim

  1. Watchpoint Support:

I disabled a couple of the watchpoint tests that are occasionally failing this morning. I think there may be one or two more that fail as well and we could disable those also. I am not sure whether the issue here is with watchpoint support or lldb-server. I actually think the issue is with lldb-server, but I haven’t worked on lldb in years (besides the buildbot), so I haven’t investigated in more details. I think some of these tests became flaky recently (possibly since the upgrade to VS2019?)

  1. Random mysterious failure:

I’ve noticed a class of failures in llvm, lld, clang, and lldb (mostly lldb and lld) that have to do with running multiple threads on Windows. I think the underlying issue is that code in the product as well as the tests doesn’t account for the way Windows behaves with regards to new threads and the order of events ends up being non-deterministic. The lld failure in particular was incredibly frustrating because it would only occur occasionally, never on a buildbot as far as I could tell, and the comments in the code seem to indicate that it should work (but it doesn’t): llvm-project/Parallel.cpp at e356027016c6365b3d8924f54c33e2c63d931492 · llvm/llvm-project (github.com). Ideally, someone familiar with Windows threading would address the issue across the board.

  1. lldb-server for Windows test failures:

tools/lldb-server/tests/./LLDBServerTests.exe/StandardStartupTest.TestStopReplyContainsThreadPcs

This particular failure is definitely more recent (in the last couple of months) and I would hate for us to disable this test instead of having someone who works on lldb-server investigate.

Thanks,

-Stella

I am afraid I too have to say that I believe the real problem here is the lack active developers with interest in/commitment to the windows port of lldb. While I appreciate having Stella's windows buildbot around, and it prevents windows from bitrotting completely, it would take a much more active involvement to resolve the multitude of systemic issues affecting windows support. Like, if we tried to apply the current llvm support policy guidelines to the windows (host-side, at least) support code, I don't think it would even meet the criteria for inclusion in the peripheral tier (active sub-community).

Now for something slightly more constructive:

While I am not familiar with the windows-specific parts of the watchpoint code, I think I can say without exaggerating that I have a *lot* of experience in fixing flaky tests. That experience tells me that flaky watchpoint tests are often/usually caused by factors outside lldb. (due to watchpoints being a global, scarce, hardware resource). Virtualization is particularly tricky here -- every virtualization technology that I've tried has had (at some point in time at least) a watchpoint-related bug. The problem described here sounds a lot like the issue I observed on Google Compute Engine, which could also miss some watchpoints "randomly". So, if this bot is running in any kind of a virtualized environment, the first thing I'd do is check whether the issue happens on physical hardware.

Relatedly to that, I also want to mention that we also have the ability to skip categories of tests in lldb. All the watchpoint tests are (should be) annotated by the watchpoint category, and so you can easily skip all of them, either by hard-disabling the category for windows in the source code (if this is an lldb issue) or externally through the buildbot config (if this is due to the bot environment => LLDB_TEST_USER_ARGS="--skip-category watchpoint").

hope that helps,
pl

I am afraid I too have to say that I believe the real problem here is the lack active developers with interest in/commitment to the windows port of lldb. While I appreciate having Stella's windows buildbot around, and it prevents windows from bitrotting completely, it would take a much more active involvement to resolve the multitude of systemic issues affecting windows support. Like, if we tried to apply the current llvm support policy guidelines to the windows (host-side, at least) support code, I don't think it would even meet the criteria for inclusion in the peripheral tier (active sub-community).

Now for something slightly more constructive:

While I am not familiar with the windows-specific parts of the watchpoint code, I think I can say without exaggerating that I have a *lot* of experience in fixing flaky tests. That experience tells me that flaky watchpoint tests are often/usually caused by factors outside lldb. (due to watchpoints being a global, scarce, hardware resource). Virtualization is particularly tricky here -- every virtualization technology that I've tried has had (at some point in time at least) a watchpoint-related bug. The problem described here sounds a lot like the issue I observed on Google Compute Engine, which could also miss some watchpoints "randomly". So, if this bot is running in any kind of a virtualized environment, the first thing I'd do is check whether the issue happens on physical hardware.

Relatedly to that, I also want to mention that we also have the ability to skip categories of tests in lldb. All the watchpoint tests are (should be) annotated by the watchpoint category, and so you can easily skip all of them, either by hard-disabling the category for windows in the source code (if this is an lldb issue) or externally through the buildbot config (if this is due to the bot environment => LLDB_TEST_USER_ARGS="--skip-category watchpoint").

Would it be reasonable to recommend that all of our windows bots testing lldb add this flag? Or maybe even check something in so that all builds default to not running these tests on Windows? The former would make sense if we primarily think this is virtualization related, the later if we think it's more likely a code problem.

I noticed last night that we have a couple of other windows bots which seem to be hitting the same false positives. Much lower frequencies, but it does seem this is not specific to the particular bot.

Otherwise, it seems like our only option (per current policy) is to disable lldb testing on windows bots entirely, and I really hate to do that.

I am afraid I too have to say that I believe the real problem here is the lack active developers with interest in/commitment to the windows port of lldb. While I appreciate having Stella's windows buildbot around, and it prevents windows from bitrotting completely, it would take a much more active involvement to resolve the multitude of systemic issues affecting windows support. Like, if we tried to apply the current llvm support policy guidelines to the windows (host-side, at least) support code, I don't think it would even meet the criteria for inclusion in the peripheral tier (active sub-community).

Now for something slightly more constructive:

While I am not familiar with the windows-specific parts of the watchpoint code, I think I can say without exaggerating that I have a *lot* of experience in fixing flaky tests. That experience tells me that flaky watchpoint tests are often/usually caused by factors outside lldb. (due to watchpoints being a global, scarce, hardware resource). Virtualization is particularly tricky here -- every virtualization technology that I've tried has had (at some point in time at least) a watchpoint-related bug. The problem described here sounds a lot like the issue I observed on Google Compute Engine, which could also miss some watchpoints "randomly". So, if this bot is running in any kind of a virtualized environment, the first thing I'd do is check whether the issue happens on physical hardware.

Relatedly to that, I also want to mention that we also have the ability to skip categories of tests in lldb. All the watchpoint tests are (should be) annotated by the watchpoint category, and so you can easily skip all of them, either by hard-disabling the category for windows in the source code (if this is an lldb issue) or externally through the buildbot config (if this is due to the bot environment => LLDB_TEST_USER_ARGS="--skip-category watchpoint").

Would it be reasonable to recommend that all of our windows bots testing lldb add this flag? Or maybe even check something in so that all builds default to not running these tests on Windows? The former would make sense if we primarily think this is virtualization related, the later if we think it's more likely a code problem.

If that question was meant for me, then my answer is yes. I think those tests should be disabled regardless of the cause. I actually tried to say the same thing, but I may not have succeeded in getting it across. Stella, can you share what kind of environment is that bot running in?

I noticed last night that we have a couple of other windows bots which seem to be hitting the same false positives. Much lower frequencies, but it does seem this is not specific to the particular bot.

Hmm.. do you have a link to those bots or something? Stella's bot is the only windows (lldb) bot I am aware of and I'd be surprised if there were more of them.

I went back and checked. Turns out I was wrong here. I had a couple of build failures with similar messages, but they were from this bot.

The windows lldb bot is running on a Hyper-V virtual machine, so it would make sense that if watchpoints don't work correctly in virtual environments they would be failing there. On the rare occasion I've had to run these tests locally, I have also seen them fail though, so that's not the only source of issues.

Since I disabled the couple of tests yesterday, there's only one watchpoint test that is still failing randomly. One option would be to disable just this test and let the remaining few watchpoint tests continue to run on Windows (I prefer this option since some tests would continue to run). Alternatively, all the watchpoint tests can be skipped via the category flag, but in that case, I'd like us to undo the individual skips.

I did notice while going through the watchpoint tests to see what is still enabled on Windows, that the same watchpoint tests that are disabled/failing on Windows are disabled on multiple other platforms as well. The tests passing on Windows are also the ones that are not disabled on other platforms. A third option would be to add a separate category for the watchpoint tests that don't run correctly everywhere and use that to disable them instead. This would be a more generic way to disable the tests instead of adding multiple `skipIf` statements to each test.

Thanks,
-Stella

The windows lldb bot is running on a Hyper-V virtual machine, so it would make sense that if watchpoints don't work correctly in virtual environments they would be failing there. On the rare occasion I've had to run these tests locally, I have also seen them fail though, so that's not the only source of issues.

Since I disabled the couple of tests yesterday, there's only one watchpoint test that is still failing randomly. One option would be to disable just this test and let the remaining few watchpoint tests continue to run on Windows (I prefer this option since some tests would continue to run). Alternatively, all the watchpoint tests can be skipped via the category flag, but in that case, I'd like us to undo the individual skips.

For better or worse, you're currently the most (only?) interested person in keeping windows host support working, so I think you can manage the windows skips/fails in any way you see fit. The rest of us are mostly interested in having green builds. :slight_smile:

Hyper-V is _not_ among the virtualization systems I've tried using with lldb, so I cannot conclusively say anything about it (though I still have my doubts).

I did notice while going through the watchpoint tests to see what is still enabled on Windows, that the same watchpoint tests that are disabled/failing on Windows are disabled on multiple other platforms as well. The tests passing on Windows are also the ones that are not disabled on other platforms. A third option would be to add a separate category for the watchpoint tests that don't run correctly everywhere and use that to disable them instead. This would be a more generic way to disable the tests instead of adding multiple `skipIf` statements to each test.

On non-x86 architectures, watchpoints tend to be available only on special (developer) hardware or similar (x86 is the outlier in having universal support), which is why these tests tend to accumulate various annotations. However, I don't think we need to solve this problem (how to skip the tests "nicely") here...

pl

Does windows use lldb-server by default or does it use ProcessWindows? ProcessWindows is the native process debugger, and lldb-server is the way we want debugging to work. If we look at ProcessWindows.cpp:

static bool ShouldUseLLDBServer() {
  llvm::StringRef use_lldb_server = ::getenv("LLDB_USE_LLDB_SERVER");
  return use_lldb_server.equals_insensitive("on") ||
         use_lldb_server.equals_insensitive("yes") ||
         use_lldb_server.equals_insensitive("1") ||
         use_lldb_server.equals_insensitive("true");
}

void ProcessWindows::Initialize() {
  if (!ShouldUseLLDBServer()) {
    static llvm::once_flag g_once_flag;

    llvm::call_once(g_once_flag, []() {
      PluginManager::RegisterPlugin(GetPluginNameStatic(),
                                    GetPluginDescriptionStatic(),
                                    CreateInstance);
    });
  }
}

We can see it is enabled if LLDB_USE_LLDB_SERVER is set the "on", "yes", "1", or "true". If this is not set then this is using the built in ProcessWindows.cpp native process plug-in which I believe was never fully fleshed out and had issues.

Can someone verify if we are testing with ProcessWindows or lldb-server on the build bot?

Can someone verify if we are testing with ProcessWindows or lldb-server on the build bot?

Since I didn't set LLDB_USE_LLDB_SERVER on the buildbot itself and this is not in the zorg configuration, the buildbot is using ProcessWindows.

I've never tried setting LLDB_USE_LLDB_SERVER to on when running the tests, so I am not sure what to expect from the results though. If I have time, I'll try it out locally this week to see what happens.

Hello everyone,

In continuation of the Responsibilities of a buildbot owner thread.

First of all, thank you very much for being buildbot owners! This is much appreciated.

Thank you for bringing good points to the discussion.

It is expected that buildbot owners own bots which are reliable, informative and helpful to the community.

Effectively that means if a problem is detected by a builder and it is hard to pinpoint the reason of the issue and a commit to blame, a buildbot owner is natively on the escalation path. Someone has to get to the root of the problem and fix it one way or another (by reverting the commit, or by proposing a patch, or by working with the author of the commit which introduced the issue). In the majority of the cases someone takes care of an issue. But sometimes it takes a buildbot owner to push. Every buildbot owner does this from time to time.

Hi Mehdi,

Something quite annoying with staging is that it does not have (as far as I know) a way
to continue to notify the buildbot owner.

You mentioned this recently in one of the reviews. With https://github.com/llvm/llvm-zorg/commit/3c5b8f5bbc37076036997b3dd8b0137252bcb826 in place, you can add the tag “silent” to your production builder, and it will not send notifications to the blame list. You can set the exact notifications you want in the master/config/status.py for that builder. Hope this helps you.

I do not want to have the staging even able to send emails. We debug and test many things there, including notifications, and there is always a risk of spam.

Thanks

Galina

Fantastic! I’ll use this for the next steps for my bots (when I get back to it, I slacked on this recently…) :slight_smile:

We may also use this on flaky bots in the future?

Thanks,

We may also use this on flaky bots in the future?

Yes, we may.
Or we may try to do our best to fix them. :slight_smile:

Moving workers to the staging temporarily to investigate and address an issue is fine. Gives a bit more elbow room for experimenting, as we can apply experimental patches there, restart the staging as needed and often, and so on. Which is not the case with the production. It does not take much effort to move a worker between the staging and the production areas - a simple edit of the buildbot.tac file and a worker restart.

Tagging a builder “silent” means there is a designated person or a team who is actively fixing the detected issues or acting as a proxy to handle the blame list. This could be a way to dial with flaky bots, indeed, assuming there is somebody taking care of those builders, not just a way to skip the annoyance and keep the status quo.

By the way, thanks everyone for the constructive and polite discussion! It seems we are going to have a more stable and informative Windows LLDB builder.

Galina

There are a couple of things on this thread that sound nice in general, but have not been clarified either in the discussion or in the documentation. Since the devil is in the details, I’d like to see us agree on the details and then have them added to the documentation.

At the end of the day, there should be no surprises in the process and everything that can be should be quantified.

We want to encourage people to be responsible code and buildbot owners, not discourage them from contributing at all.

It is expected that buildbot owners own bots which are reliable, informative and helpful to the community.

In my experience, every buildbot has occasional “flakiness” – be it because of code failures that don’t happen every time or because of connectivity issues, etc. Some bots are also often broken not because of any flakiness, but because with the large number of commits, there are bound to be failures.

So what makes a bot not reliable enough? Some percentage of builds failing? Some percentage of false positives? Does it vary per project or is there a single expectation for all of llvm?

I think it makes sense to say that false positives above a certain threshold make a buildbot not reliable enough and the threshold should be documented. It also makes sense to say that failures above a certain threshold make a bot not reliable enough – if the codebase is fragile enough that most commits cause breaks, it is possible that a reliable buildbot for it cannot exist.

“someone” needs to take the responsibility to backstop the normal revert to green process.

As Mehdi pointed out earlier, the root cause of the failure might mean that the buildbot owner or that a code owner is better suited to addressing it. Philip’s argument is that at the end of the day, it is always the buildbot owner if a code owner hasn’t come forward. It makes sense to have someone who is ultimately responsible and it also makes sense that everyone needs to be given time and notice to act on the failures.

There has also been some mention of different ways to “silence” a buildbot – either by turning it off entirely and waiting for a bot owner to reconnect it to staging or production, or by tagging it as “silent”. In my experience, there’s a huge difference between using the “silent” tag and turning a bot off. In the first case, the bot owners will continue to receive notifications and the builds will continue to run. Even if the bot is red already, there’s some chance that new commits that add breaks will be possible to figure out by looking at the logs either by other interested parties, or by the bot owners themselves. When a bot is turned off for any period of time, there’s nothing that can be used to determine when new failures were checked in (aside from local builds, so many local builds) and it can be incredibly painful to track down__. I think bots should only be forcefully turned off very rarely and when nothing else can be done and with plenty of notice.__

So then, what is the flow when a bot starts having issues? I would propose that it be something like this:

Stella wrote:

The few times I’ve made commits to llvm, for example, I’ve always
gotten at least one email about a break that was unrelated to my
change (because my changes are perfect, thank you very much). This
larger problem of build breaks is much harder to address than flaky
bots or tests, but I think would improve the health of llvm &
friends significantly more (and in the meantime, we could tolerate
some “flakiness”).

This is consistent enough that if I don’t get a bot email, I wonder
if my “git push” failed. :blush: The project very much needs a functioning
pre-commit sanity check of some kind. What we have now is Phabricator
running something that basically always fails, making it largely
useless. But that is straying from the topic of bot-owner
responsibilities.

On that topic, however, I would like to request a way to actively get
help with a bot failure. A little while ago I tried to commit a patch
to lit, which after a couple of tries, passed everywhere except *one*
test on *one* bot. I asked for help on llvm-dev and got no reply.
The patch is reverted and remains on a back burner because I couldn’t
get help. At some point I will try again, but I suspect there won’t
be a way to solve the problem without the active help of the bot owner,
whoever it is. How do you find a bot owner, anyway?

Thanks,
--paulr