Autotest Code Submission Check List

This document describes to contributors what we are looking for when we go through submitted patches. Please try to follow this as much as possible to save both the person reviewing your code as well as yourself some extra time.

Github Pull Requests

In order to keep code review in one place, making the work of our maintainers easier, we decided to make pull requests the primary means to contributing to all projects inside the autotest umbrella.

That means it is highly preferrable to send pull requests, rather than patches to the mailing list. If you feel strongly against using pull requests, we’ll take your patches, but please consider using the recommended method, as it is considered nicer with the maintainers.

This documentation on github pull requests is complete and up to date, it’ll work you through all details necessary. The bottom line is that you’ll fork virt-test or autotest_remote_unittest, create a working branch, push changes to this branch and then go to the web interface to create the request.

Subscribe to the mailing list

That’s important. See the link in the contact info documentation. Even though we don’t use the mailing list for patch review, we still discuss RFCs and send announcements to it.

Running Unit tests

Regardless of what you change it is recommended that you not only add unittests but also run the unittest suite of each project to be sure any changes you made did not break anything. In order to install all the deps required for unittests, please check the unittest suite docs.

Example (autotest):

[foo@bar autotest]$ utils/ --full
Number of test modules found: 65
[... lots of output ...]
All passed!

Example (virt-test):

[foo@bar virt-test]$ tools/ --full
Number of test modules found: 22
[... lots of output ...]
All passed!

Running pylint

Another tool we use to insure the correctness of our code is pylint. Due to the way imports have been implemented in the autotest code base a special wrapper is required to run pylint.

The file is located in utils/ The virt-test version is in tools/

Simply run the command from your code directory and the rest is taken care of.

Example of running on a source file with warnings:

[lmr@freedom autotest]$ utils/ -q client/

Good. Same process, now with an error I introduced:

[lmr@freedom autotest]$ utils/ -q client/
************* Module client.job
E0602:175,14:base_client_job._pre_record_init: Undefined variable 'bar'

Here is the error, an undefined variable:

[lmr@freedom autotest]$ git diff
diff --git a/client/ b/client/
index c5e362b..8d335b4 100644
--- a/client/
+++ b/client/
@@ -172,6 +172,7 @@ class base_client_job(base_job.base_job):
         As of now self.record() needs self.resultdir, self._group_level,
         self.harness and of course self._logger.
+        foo = bar
         if not options.cont:

So, pylint is a valuable ally here, use it!


Yet another tool that we use to fix indentation inconsistencies (important thing to notice when you’re doing python code) is utils/ (autotest) or tools/ (virt-test). You can use the script giving your files as an argument, so it will prune trailing whitespaces from lines and fix incorrect indentation.

Breaking up changes

  • Submit a separate patch for each logical change (if your description includes “add this, fix that, remove three other unrelated things”; probably bad).
  • Put a summary line at the very top of the commit message, explaining briefly what has changed and where.
  • Put cleanups in separate patches than functional changes.
  • Please set up your git environment properly, and always sign your patches using commit -s.

Patch Descriptions

Patch descriptions need to be as verbose as possible. Some of these points are obvious but still worth mentioning. Describe:

  • The motivation for the change - what problem are you trying to fix?
  • High level description / design approach of how your change works (for non-trivial changes)
  • Implementation details
  • Testing results

Follow control file specification

All tests must follow the control file specification Refer to the Control Requirements section. In virt-test, you don’t usually need to write control files, so feel free to skip this if you’re developing virt-test.

Follow Coding Style

Autotest and virt-test (mostly) follow PEP8, but it’s always good to take a look at the coding style documentation.

Git Setup

Please make sure you have git properly setup. We have a fairly brief and descriptive document explaining how to get the basics setup here. In particular, tend to stick to one version of your written name, so all your contributions appear under a same name on git shortlog. For example:

John Doe Silverman


John D. Silverman

Please do choose between one of them when sending patches, for consistency.

Example Patch

This is a good example of a patch with a descriptive commit message.

commit 37fe66bb2f6d0b489d70426ed4a78953083c7e46
Author: Nishanth Aravamudan <>
Date:   Thu Apr 26 03:38:44 2012 +0000

    conmux/ivm: use immediate reboot rather than delayed

    Delayed reboots use EPOW, which does not always result in a shutdown of
    the LPAR. Use the more sever immediate shutdown, to ensure the LPAR goes
    down. This matches the HMC code.

    Signed-off-by: Nishanth Aravamudan <>