Wednesday, 6 September 2023

strace global FFe request (aligning with kernel uploads)


Strace is tightly coupled to the kernel but at the moment the release schedules
of their packages are different. I would like strace uploads to be able to
follow kernel ones. In practice this would be more limited than the
kernel uploads since it only needs to follow the first update of the new
major kernel version. It's also not a tool which could make machines
impossible to boot or to use.

The reason to request this FFe is that in practice the strace version must
match the kernel version due to how coupled the two are. Indeed, strace cannot
report system calls or options introduced in new kernels, and its extensive and
deep use of kernel headers makes it more likely to encounter issues when
building. Finally, strace is only released after the kernel has been
released and kernel packages are typically uploaded after the feature

Strace releases and version numbers have been tracking the kernel since strace
4.13 in July 2016 but this was only implicitly announced with strace 4.14: .

There have been a few FFe for strace already. Two were due to FTBFS on newer
kernels and there was also an FTBFS in kinetic that has only been fixed in >=
Lunar with strace 5.19. There was also an FFe for 6.1 in Lunar. These FFe
spanned 4 or 5 years if I'm not mistaken, which corresponds to a fairly high

Since the versioning is the same as the kernel's, the change from e.g. 5.19 to
6.1 is in no way major and breaking. There will be version changes that appear
to be major in the future but are only due to the kernel versioning.

Changes in strace are typically pretty simple: mostly updates to match the
kernel, decoding improvements and various identifier updates.

The first update this would apply to is strace 6.5 which was released
last Friday, for kernel 6.5 which was released 5 days before. I haven't
yet prepared the package for it. I will make sure the package installs
cleanly, works (in addition to its testsuite which is used both during
packaging and for autopkgtests).
Since I don't have upload rights, the upload will also be reviewed.

PS: while writing this I realized it might make sense to provide updates
to strace along with HWE kernels but that's a brand new topic AFAIK and
I don't think it would make sense to tie this FFe to that.



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