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Towards maintainer script modernization in FOSS distributions

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Abstract:

Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) distributions are complex software systems, made of thousands packages that evolve rapidly, independently, and without centralized coordination. During packages upgrades, corner case failures can be encountered and are hard to deal with, especially when they are due to misbehaving maintainer scripts: executable code snippets used to finalize package configuration. In this paper we report a software modernization experience, the process of representing existing legacy systems in terms of models, applied to FOSS distributions. We present a process to define meta-models that enable dealing with upgrade failures and help rolling back from them, taking into account maintainer scripts. The process has been applied to widely used FOSS distributions and we report about such experiences.

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