Testing Feeds

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Contents

Migration to the Alpha and Beta Testing Feeds

The old WebOS Internals Testing Feeds (for applications and kernels) have been replaced by separate Alpha and Beta testing feeds. There are a number of reasons for this change:

  1. We needed to separate out bleeding-edge unstable alpha testing packages from generally benign beta testing packages. The old testing feeds did not allow this distinction.
  2. Too many sites have published the raw testing feed URLs without referencing the rules below, which means many people have the old testing feeds enabled without understanding the risks associated with doing so.
  3. There were a number of packages which were caught in the old testing feeds when the TouchPad fire sale happened, and as a result of the publicity surrounding those packages many people have the old testing feeds enabled just for those packages (which have since been promoted to the public feeds) and are not aware of the risks associated with other packages which they may be presented with via those old testing feeds.

Please read the Testing Feeds Q&A for more information about the rationale for this change.

Each of the Alpha and Beta testing feeds has four sub-feeds: Apps, Kernels, Patches & Optware. Each of these sub-feeds can be enabled or disabled independently.

Transition to the new Alpha and Beta testing feeds is now complete. Preware 1.8.x now supports the new Alpha and Beta testing feeds, and instructions on how to enable the new feeds are on this page. When you enable the new Alpha or Beta testing feeds, the old obsolete testing feeds are automatically removed from your Preware configuration.

Rules that you must agree to before using these feeds

Before you use our testing feeds, please read and agree to the following rules:

Tux with Warning.png
  1. Anyone participating in WebOS Internals alpha or beta testing of any kind must be prepared to fully erase and webOS Doctor their device at a moment's notice without warning and without any regrets or complaints.
  2. They must be prepared to and able to log into the command line on the device and type Linux commands when instructed to do so. Knowing Linux commands ahead of time is preferred, but not required if you are willing to learn them when necessary or can follow instructions without making mistakes.
  3. They must be prepared to go to great and extraordinary lengths to try and reliably reproduce any problems they encounter.
  4. They must give full and detailed bug reports, leaving out no piece of information which could possibly be remotely connected to the problem.
  5. They must read any and all documentation and forums threads (in their entirety) before asking a question.
  6. They must fastidiously follow the forum threads where the alpha testing is being discussed by the authors, and follow precisely any instructions given there.
  7. They will never post the raw testing feed URLs or instructions anywhere, but will always refer others directly to this page using only the URL "http://testing.preware.org/"
  8. When asking for help, they will include the phrase (which may change occasionally) "I've read the rules". Failure to include the phrase will result in the request for help being silently ignored.

If you're not prepared to do *all* the above, and do it all in good spirit, then please wait for the public release of the item.

If you are prepared to do *all* the above, then by all means please participate in the alpha or beta testing.

Note that everything above is a function of attitude, not of skill.

How to only use safe stable feeds

If you are one of the people who were told to use testing feeds by some article or forum post, but are really not actively testing anything, then you should do the following to revert your Preware configuration to only using safe stable feeds:

  1. Open Preware
  2. Go to the Manage Feeds page
  3. Swipe to delete any feed which has "testing" anywhere in the name

Note that this does not affect any packages that you have already installed on your device.

If you have done this, and want to stick with safe stable feeds only, you can stop here. The rest of this page is not relevant to you and you should not do anything else on this page after this point.

Enabling the Beta Testing Feeds

Beta quality packages have had some end-user testing, but may still delete your data or wipe your device in rare circumstances. You have been warned. Unless you are directly and specifically beta testing a package, you should disable all beta feeds at all times other than when you are explicitly updating or installing a beta package.

Re-read the rules above before continuing.

It is also wise to read all of the Q&A before continuing.

You must never repost or copy or rewrite these instructions anywhere else, but must always refer others directly to this page using only the URL "http://testing.preware.org/"

Being able to gain access to the command line using novaterm or Xecutah and being able to reinstall Preware are important obligations for anyone who participates in beta testing.

To enable the beta testing feeds, you must do the following:

1. Uninstall Preware. Yes, seriously. You must uninstall Preware. This will not affect any other packages that you have installed.
2. Gain access to the Linux command line on your device and run the following two commands.
mkdir -p /var/preferences/org.webosinternals.preware
touch /var/preferences/org.webosinternals.preware/enable-beta-feeds
3. Install Preware 1.8.3 or later.
4. Start Preware, open the Manage Feeds screen, and enable *only* those feeds which you wish to use. Before enabling a kernel testing feed, you should read this.
5. Donate to WebOS Internals http://donate.webos-internals.org and http://bit.ly/phd-ac

You must never repost or copy or rewrite these instructions anywhere else, but must always refer others directly to this page using only the URL "http://testing.preware.org/"

Disabling the Beta Feeds

To temporarily disable the beta feeds, simply set the toggle switch in the Preware Manage Feeds screen to Off for each feed.

To permanently disable the beta feeds, you must do the following:

1. Gain access to the Linux command line on your device and run the command.
rm -f /var/preferences/org.webosinternals.preware/enable-beta-feeds
2. Swipe to delete all the beta-* feeds in the Preware Manage Feeds screen.

Note that if you do not remove the enable-beta-feeds file, the beta feeds will reappear the next time you install a new version of Preware.

Enabling the Alpha Testing Feeds

Alpha quality packages have had little or no end-user testing, and are likely to delete your data, wipe your device and profile, and potentially damage your device. Packages in the alpha feed *will* regularly break (perhaps even intentionally). You have been warned. Unless you are directly and specifically alpha testing a package, you should disable all alpha feeds at all times other than when you are explicitly updating or installing an alpha package.

In general, very very very very few users would be expected to enable the Alpha testing feeds. The large majority of users should only ever use the Beta testing feeds.

The Beta testing feeds and the Alpha testing feeds can both be enabled at the same time if desired.

Re-read the rules above before continuing.

It is also wise to read all of the Q&A before continuing.

You must never repost or copy or rewrite these instructions anywhere else, but must always refer others directly to this page using only the URL "http://testing.preware.org/"

Being able to gain access to the command line using novaterm or Xecutah and being able to reinstall Preware are important obligations for anyone who participates in alpha testing.

To enable the alpha testing feeds, you must do the following:

1. Uninstall Preware. Yes, seriously. You must uninstall Preware. This will not affect any other packages that you have installed.
2. Gain access to the Linux command line on your device and run the following two commands.
mkdir -p /var/preferences/org.webosinternals.preware
touch /var/preferences/org.webosinternals.preware/enable-alpha-feeds
3. Install Preware 1.8.3 or later.
4. Start Preware, open the Manage Feeds screen, and enable *only* those feeds which you wish to use. Before enabling a kernel testing feed, you should read this.
5. Donate to WebOS Internals http://donate.webos-internals.org and http://bit.ly/phd-ac

You must never repost or copy or rewrite these instructions anywhere else, but must always refer others directly to this page using only the URL "http://testing.preware.org/"

Disabling the Alpha Feeds

To temporarily disable the alpha feeds, simply set the toggle switch in the Preware Manage Feeds screen to Off for each feed.

To permanently disable the alpha feeds, you must do the following:

1. Gain access to the Linux command line on your device and run the following command.
rm -f /var/preferences/org.webosinternals.preware/enable-alpha-feeds
2. Swipe to delete all the alpha-* feeds in the Preware Manage Feeds screen.

Note that if you do not remove the enable-alpha-feeds file, the alpha feeds will reappear the next time you install a new version of Preware.

Testing Feeds Q&A

Q: Who should use the Alpha testing feeds?

A: If you're asking that question, then you should not be using the Alpha testing feeds. Very very very very very few people should ever enable the Alpha testing feeds. Unless you have a git repository cloned and are editing code, you should not enable the Alpha testing feeds.

Q: Who should use the Beta testing feeds?

A: Anyone is welcome to use the Beta testing feeds, as long as they comply fully with the rules and know exactly why they are using a Beta testing feed (i.e. they are not just blindly following some instructions in some article or forum post somewhere).

Q: Why does enabling the feeds require connecting my device to a computer?

A: When you are enabling testing feeds for the first time, we want to ensure that you are able to connect to your device from a computer to assist in debugging the things you are testing, or to be able to recover your device if something goes wrong.

Q: Why does enabling the feeds require reinstalling Preware?

A: The feeds are actually created when Preware is installed, so you need to reinstall Preware for the feeds to be created on your device.

Q: Why does enabling the feeds require the use of the Linux command line?

A: To be an effective tester, you need to be able to access your device on the Linux command line to provide debugging information. We ensure that you can do that before you are able to access the feeds.

Q: Why can't I just enter in the feed URLs directly?

A: Too many people got the feed names or feed URLs wrong, so we took those things out of the equation.

Q: Why can't I publish the instructions on my blog or website or forum post?

A: Too many people were publishing the URLs without the corresponding rules and warnings. This is now strictly forbidden.

Q: What are the alpha-patches and beta-patches feeds going to be used for?

A: The alpha-patches feed will be used for testing new AUPT scripts which will be able to handle patching files in /media/cryptofs/apps/ (files not inside /md5sums). Once that is working, we'll use the beta-patches feed to do a complete upgrade of all patches to use the new AUPT scripts and then beta test those.

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