6.4. Development of new features

Within the project there are sub-projects that are working on new features. These projects are generally done by one person [Jørgensen, 2001]. Every project is free to organise development as it sees fit. However, when the project is merged to the -CURRENT branch it must follow the project guidelines. When the code has been well tested in the -CURRENT branch and deemed stable enough and relevant to the -STABLE branch, it is merged to the -STABLE branch.

The requirements of the project are given by developer wishes, requests from the community in terms of direct requests by mail, Problem Reports, commercial funding for the development of features, or contributions by the scientific community. The wishes that come within the responsibility of a developer are given to that developer who prioritises his time between the request and his wishes. A common way to do this is maintain a TODO-list maintained by the project. Items that do not come within someone's responsibility are collected on TODO-lists unless someone volunteers to take the responsibility. All requests, their distribution and follow-up are handled by the GNATS tool.

Requirements analysis happens in two ways. The requests that come in are discussed on mailing lists, both within the main project and in the sub-project that the request belongs to or is spawned by the request. Furthermore, individual developers on the sub-project will evaluate the feasibility of the requests and determine the prioritisation between them. Other than archives of the discussions that have taken place, no outcome is created by this phase that is merged into the main project.

As the requests are prioritised by the individual developers on the basis of doing what they find interesting, necessary or are funded to do, there is no overall strategy or prioritisation of what requests to regard as requirements and following up their correct implementation. However, most developers have some shared vision of what issues are more important, and they can ask for guidelines from the release engineering team.

The verification phase of the project is two-fold. Before committing code to the current-branch, developers request their code to be reviewed by their peers. This review is for the most part done by functional testing, but also code review is important. When the code is committed to the branch, a broader functional testing will happen, that may trigger further code review and debugging should the code not behave as expected. This second verification form may be regarded as structural verification. Although the sub-projects themselves may write formal tests such as unit tests, these are usually not collected by the main project and are usually removed before the code is committed to the current branch. [9]



[9] More and more tests are however performed when building the system (make world). These tests are however a very new addition and no systematic framework for these tests have yet been created.

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