Searching for Testers was Re: [OpenAFS] OpenAFS site not geared for beginners...

Rodney M Dyer
Sat, 02 Sep 2006 00:50:37 -0400

At 09:14 PM 9/1/2006, Jeffrey Altman wrote:
>I feel compelled to point out the fact that I have seen zero bug reports
>saying that OpenAFS would not install or that the service would not
>start (except on Windows Vista and that is because of bugs in Vista.)

Please forgive my knee-jerking and I admit that the problem is not as 
overblown as I make things out to be.  After being hassled by help desk 
support, my mood isn't always good.  In the last month I have been called 
out on as little as two issues that have appeared with the client.

1.  Apparently there is some issue with having the Windows client 
computername longer than a certain length.

2.  Apparently with the latest build 1.4.2fc2 the client service will crash 
on startup.

I did not have time to perform any analysis of these problems.  I fixed 
issue 1 just by making the computername shorter.  Issue 2 was fixed after 
installing 1.4.1 over 1.4.2fc2 - twice.  The first install over 1.4.2fc2 
was done by our help desk.  I personally wouldn't have done it that way, 
thinking that 1.4.1 installer shouldn't know how to uninstall a later 
version.  And in fact this causes an issue with the AFS client service not 
being completely removed.  So I needed to re-install 1.4.1 one more time, 
hoping this problem would clear it up, and it did.

What we know about issue 2 is that the machine never had AFS on it 
before.  The machine was a brand new laptop with Windows XP SP2 and all 
patches.  The user simply downloaded1.4.2fc2 and installed it.  Upon reboot 
the service crashes.  I did not actually see the crash, but was advised of 
the crash dump by Windows that occurred.  When I got to the computer, the 
help desk person had already tried to remove 1.4.2fc2 by installing 1.4.1.

This year has been a very complicated and exhausting year for me.  I'm a 
very tired tech worker in the IT industry.  I love AFS and do want to 
continue to support the OpenAFS group with testing, however I have been too 
busy with other things lately to help out.  I found that it has just been 
too time consuming to keep up with every release of OpenAFS.  The time I 
have allotted for AFS testing and debugging is very small, if any at all.

I'm also a little bit nervous with the fact that as AFS has improved 
(performance and features), it also still retains some visible 
instabilities; apparently not only in the client, but in the server 
too.  We have/are seeing strange issues after moving to 1.4.1.  Issues like...

1.  Users apparently can't add their own permissions back after removing 
them from their home volume.  This worked in the past. (I think because the 
user was the owner of the volume).  It no longer works.

2.  Volume replications can sometimes stall, or take longer than normal 
periods of time, even if the replication is on the same server.

3.  Moving a users volume from one server to another apparently causes some 
issue with some clients not being able to access the volume.

4.  Other anomalies which we got patches for from the OpenAFS group since 
we upgraded to 1.4.1.

I don't have any good data on these issues yet.  I don't have good time to 
diagnose these problems.  I mention them only as anecdotal problems.  Even 
if I can't do anything more about getting more information to you I feel 
you should at least know something is not right.  I guess I could just keep 
my mouth closed.

Btw, now that it is on my mind, there is also a small cosmetic issue with 
the afscreds tool drive mapper.  After drives are mapped, the drive mapping 
listing doesn't refresh unless you click to another tab, then back to the 
drive mapper (not a show stopper in any way).

I don't have any good advice for how to proceed with testing.  I perform 
many tests when I'm ready to roll out a new client.  I haven't been testing 
lately because we decided not to upgrade the client this summer.  I need to 
gear up this fall for the next roll out.  So I will probably increase my 
testing later this month.  Again time is short.  I'm working so hard these 
days just to stay a float that I've been thinking my service in the IT 
industry is almost over.  Managing OSs, applications, and new technologies 
is just too complex these days.  Maybe it's just me, but I don't understand 
how other people in IT keep up.  Microsoft I blame the most for all my 
problems.  Microsoft has created an almost unmanageable working environment 
(OS and applications).  The toll to keep the beast running is just too 
high.  I'm about to give up and jump ship.