June 13, 2018

GStreamer CI Support for Embedded Devices

Embedded devices are a popular deployment target for GStreamer yet they are not tested on the project's Continuous Integration (CI) system. Here's a look at work done to introduce a Raspberry Pi for automated on-board testing using Jenkins, LAVA, and more.

By Omar Akkila, Software Engineer at Collabora.

GStreamer is a popular open-source pipeline-based multimedia framework that has been in development since 2001. That’s 17 years of constant development, triaging, bug fixes, feature additions, packaging, and testing. Adopting a Jenkins-based Continuous Integration (CI) setup in August 2013, GStreamer and its dependencies are now built multiple times a day with each commit. Prior to that, the multimedia project used a build bot hosted by Collabora and Igalia. At the time of this writing, GStreamer is built for the Linux (Fedora & Debian), macOS, Windows, Android, and iOS platforms. A very popular deployment target for GStreamer are embedded devices, but they are not targeted in the current CI setup.This meant additional manpower, effort, and testing outside of the automated tests for every release of GStreamer to validate on embedded boards. To rectify this, a goal was devised to integrate embedded devices into the CI.

Now, this meant more than just emulating embedded targets and building GStreamer for them. The desire is to test on physical boards with as much as automation as possible. This is where the the Linaro Automated Validation Architecture (LAVA) steps into play. LAVA is a continuous integration automation system, similar to Jenkins, oriented towards testing on physical and virtual hardware. Tests can range anywhere between simple boot testing to system-level testing. The plan being that GStreamer CI will interface with LAVA to run the gst-validate test suite on devices.

Architecturally, LAVA operates through a master-worker relationship. The master is responsible for housing the web interface, database of devices, and scheduler. The worker is responsible for receiving messages from the master and dispatching all operations and procedures to the Devices Under Test (DUT). At Collabora, we host a LAVA instance with a master and maintain a lab of physical devices connected to a LAVA worker in our Cambridge office. For the preliminary iteration of embedded support, the aim is to introduce a Raspberry Pi to the GStreamer CI. Collabora’s infrastructure is used as a playground to test and research. The Raspberry Pi is both popular and it offers the complex use-case of creating special builds of GStreamer components due to its design. Conveniently, one of the devices integrated with our worker is a Raspberry Pi 2 Model B - hereafter referred to as ‘RPi’.

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