Interacting with BuildBot using IRC

Using BuildBot for Drizzle has been a great way to help in the verification of the sometimes rapid code changes that are being committed.

Curious why the IRC notifier within BuildBot only joined and exited the #drizzle channel in IRC, some further investigation of the IRC Documentation lead to more information to share.

By default, the following configuration is not much help in any automated notification.

from buildbot.status import words
c['status'].append(words.IRC(host="", nick="drizzle_buildbot", channels=["#drizzle"]))

However, within IRC you can query using several commands. My first trials.

rbradfor: drizzle_buildbot: list builders
[3:10pm] drizzle_buildbot: Configured builders: centos5.64.1 centos5.64.1-mt debian4.32.1[offline] debian5.32.1 debian5.32.2 debian5.64.1 doxygen fedora8.32.1[offline] fedora8.64.1 gentoo8.32.1 gentoo8.64.1 osx105.32.1 osx105.32.1-mt osx105.64.1[offline] osx105.64.1-mt[offline] suse11.32.1[offline] ubuntu804.32.1[offline] ubuntu804.32.2[offline] ubuntu804.32.3[offline] ubuntu804.32.4 ubuntu804.32.4-mt ubuntu804.32.5 ubuntu804.32.6[offline] ubuntu804.32.7[offline] ubuntu804
[3:10pm] rbradfor: drizzle_buildbot: status all
[3:10pm] drizzle_buildbot left the chat room. (Excess Flood)
[3:11pm] drizzle_buildbot joined the chat room.
[3:11pm] rbradfor: drizzle_buildbot: notify on
[3:11pm] drizzle_buildbot: The following events are being notified: ['started', 'finished']
[3:13pm] drizzle_buildbot: build #484 of centos5.64.1 started including []
[3:18pm] drizzle_buildbot: build #484 of centos5.64.1 is complete: Success [build successful]  Build details are at
[3:25pm] rbradfor: drizzle_buildbot: notify off
[3:25pm] drizzle_buildbot: The following events are being notified: []
[3:26pm] rbradfor: drizzle_buildbot: watch centos5.64.1
[3:26pm] drizzle_buildbot: there are no builds currently running
[3:34pm] rbradfor: drizzle_buildbot: notify on failed
[3:34pm] drizzle_buildbot: The following events are being notified: ['failed']
[4:09pm] rbradfor: drizzle_buildbot: help
[4:09pm] drizzle_buildbot: Get help on what? (try 'help foo', or 'commands' for a command list)
[4:09pm] rbradfor: drizzle_buildbot: help commands
[4:09pm] drizzle_buildbot: Usage: commands - List available commands
[4:09pm] rbradfor: drizzle_buildbot: commands
[4:09pm] drizzle_buildbot: buildbot commands: commands, dance, destroy, excited, force, hello, help, join, last, leave, list, notify, source, status, stop, version, watch

The docs list the following commands.

To use the service, you address messages at the buildbot, either normally (botnickname: status) or with private messages (/msg botnickname status). The buildbot will respond in kind.

Some of the commands currently available:

list builders
    Emit a list of all configured builders
status BUILDER
    Announce the status of a specific Builder: what it is doing right now.
status all
    Announce the status of all Builders
    If the given Builder is currently running, wait until the Build is finished and then announce the results.
    Return the results of the last build to run on the given Builder.
    Join the given IRC channel
    Leave the given IRC channel
notify on|off|list EVENT
    Report events relating to builds. If the command is issued as a private message, then the report will be sent back as a private message to the user who issued the command. Otherwise, the report will be sent to the channel. Available events to be notified are:

        A build has started
        A build has finished
        A build finished successfully
        A build failed
        A build generated and exception
        The previous build was successful, but this one failed
        The previous build failed, but this one was successful

    Describe a command. Use help commands to get a list of known commands.
    Announce the URL of the Buildbot's home page.
    Announce the version of this Buildbot.

If the allowForce=True option was used, some addtional commands will be available:

force build BUILDER REASON
    Tell the given Builder to start a build of the latest code. The user requesting the build and REASON are recorded in the Build status. The buildbot will announce the build's status when it finishes.
    Terminate any running build in the given Builder. REASON will be added to the build status to explain why it was stopped. You might use this if you committed a bug, corrected it right away, and don't want to wait for the first build (which is destined to fail) to complete before starting the second (hopefully fixed) build.

I don’ want to flood the IRC channel with messages, so delving deeper into the documentation via the following commands gives me more tips.

$ cd buildbot-0.7.8
$ pydoc buildbot.status.words

By defining categories against the IRC notification, and assigning builders to a given category, in theory you will get notifications just for these builders. I didn’t seem to produce the desired results, so for now it needs to be manual interaction until I get additional time to investigate.

b00 = {'name': "centos5.64.1", 'slavename': "centos5_64", 'builddir': "build00", 'factory': f1, 'category': "irc" }
from buildbot.status import words
c['status'].append(words.IRC(host="", nick="drizzle_buildbot", channels=["#drizzle"], categories=["irc"]))

Where the happening community people now hang

Eric of Proven Scaling commented on a lack of IRC action in the normal mysql channels today when he visited the #drizzle channel on

ebergen: I'm still in #mysql-dev and #planet.mysql but they are hardly active these days [1:51pm]
rbradfor: ebergen: funny, #drizzle is where the action is. [1:51pm]

There is active movement on the Drizzle project. Why is this? Well, I think most importantly is that there is active contribution from the community, at least 5 different companies and more individuals are pushing code to Drizzle, and it’s being accepted and incorporated. Something you can not say about the MySQL Community branch.

As I write this, there are 35 active people on the #drizzle channel now, and 137 members of the Drizzle Discuss list.

My contribution is as Monty put’s it, “Your the build team”. I am managing the Build Master for Drizzle and my company 42SQL is providing the hosting and support. I’ve even managed to push my first small code changes to the project using the very simple Contributing Code instructions. No fuss, no pain, and I don’t care if it doesn’t get included, but it’s available for all to see and use.

In 2 days we now have 15 build slaves covering Ubuntu 8.04 32 & 64bit, Debian 32 & 64 bit, CentOS 5 64 bit, Gentoo 32 & 64 bit, and Mac OS/X 10.5, with definitely some color at times in the waterfall display.

Jay has a good article on Drizzle Buildbot Now Accepting BuildSlaves.

We need your help! There are plenty of Linux/Unix OS’s out there, and we want to know Drizzle can be compiled as broadly as possible. Most of the contributors of build slaves to date are not names I know well in the MySQL community, which is excellent. What I’d like to see is more names I do know.

It’s easy, just check out Instructions for setting up a BuildSlave for Drizzle.

Drizzle needs you

Use MySQL, but want to follow the new kid on the block?
Want to help contribute to Drizzle?

We are seeking help in compiling across different platforms.
Please help us by becoming a buildbot slave.

There are detailed instructions, so now is the time to take a few minutes and help out the project.

The Drizzle Buildbot is hosted and supported by 42SQL.

Building sources with BuildBot

Unless your in the desert under a rock (where rain is clearly needed), you will have heard of Drizzle – A Lightweight SQL Database for Cloud and Web. My company 42SQL is sponsoring the BuildBot for the Drizzle project. BuildBot is a system to automate the compile/test cycle required by most software projects to validate code changes.

Check out Installing Buildbot for what’s necessary to get a working installation. This is necessary for the Master and Slaves.

Configuration was a little more complicated then expected, due to lack of accurate documentation, and reading old docs at sourceforge. Be sure now to read here.

This is a step by step approach I used to successfully configure Drizzle Build Bot (Master and Slave).

1. Create OS User.

su -
useradd buildbot
su - buildbot

2. Create Master Installation

buildbot create-master /home/buildbot/master
cd /home/buildbot/master
cp master.cfg.sample master.cfg
vi master.cfg

Here is a diff of what simple changes I made to the master.cfg.sample work in my environment.

$ diff master.cfg.sample master.cfg
< c['slaves'] = [BuildSlave("bot1name", "bot1passwd")]
> c['slaves'] = [BuildSlave("centos5_64", "paSSw0rd")]
< cvsroot = ":pserver:[email protected]:/cvsroot/buildbot"
> cvsroot = ":pserver:[email protected]:/cvsroot/buildbot"
< f1.addStep(Trial(testpath="."))
> #f1.addStep(Trial(testpath="."))
< 'slavename': "bot1name",
>       'slavename': "centos5_64",
< #c['debugPassword'] = "debugpassword"
> c['debugPassword'] = "paSSw0rd"
< #                                       "admin", "password")
> #                                       "admin", "paSSw0rd")
< c['projectName'] = "Buildbot"
< c['projectURL'] = ""
> c['projectName'] = "Drizzle Buildbot"
> c['projectURL'] = ""

Initially I’m just going to test with a CVS checkout of buildbot to confirm operations.
NOTE: The example provided pserver URL in master.cfg.sample is invalid.

3. Start Master

buildbot start /home/buildbot/master > start.log
tail -f /home/buildbot/master/twistd.log

4. Confirm Master


5. Create Slave

buildbot create-slave /home/buildbot/slave centos5_64 PaSSw0rd

I got stuck here based on docs, be sure the port number is the client port.

6. Configure Slave

cd /home/buildbot/slave/info
echo "Ronald Bradford < ronald .bradford @ google mail >" > admin
echo "Drizzle CentOS 5 64bit "`uname -a` > host
cat admin host

7. Start Slave

cd /home/buildbot/slave
buildbot start /home/buildbot/slave > start.log
tail -f /home/buildbot/slave/twistd.log

8. Confirm Slave

If everything is working by the time you look at the twistd.log you will see work happening.
You can also via the web interface and see in Lasted Builds the first build is working.

9. Stop Services

To stop the BuildBot master and slave.

buildbot stop /home/buildbot/master
buildbot stop /home/buildbot/slave

10. Change Master Configuration

Should you make any changes to master.cfg the following command will re-read the configuration file.

buildbot sighup /home/buildbot/master

11. Startup
The following was added to cron

@reboot buildbot start /home/buildbot/master
@reboot buildbot start /home/buildbot/slave

The @reboot is new sytax for me, so I can’t yet confirm it’s operation.

If you want to be a build slave for Drizzle, check out Instructions here

The fast paced open source ecosystem

This morning at OSCON 08, Tim O’Reilly’s opening keynote Open Source on the O’Reilly Radar included a slide on Drizzle, giving this new project maximum exposure to the Open Source community.

Drizzle was only officially announced yesterday in Drizzle, Clouds, “What If?” by primary architect Brian Aker. Things move fast. There has been a number of comments from people yesterday including Mark Attwood, Monty Widenus,Monty Taylor,Ronald Bradford, Arjen Lentz, Lewis Cunningham, Jeremy Cole, 451 Group,Matt Asay, Assaf Arkin, SlashDot, and MySQL HA.

The Drizzle Launchpad project has reached 5th on a Google Search.

Unfortunately, not all uptake and feedback was positive. The official Wikipedia page for Drizzle was marked for speedy deletion almost instantly, and within a few hours permanently deleted.

The new kid on the block – Drizzle

Before today, Drizzle was known as a light form of rain found in Seattle (among other places). Not any more. If you have not read the news already today, Drizzle, Clouds, “What If?” is the new kid on the RDBMS bock.

Faster, leaner and designed with the original goals of ease-of-use, reliability and performance, Drizzle will make an impact in those organizations that are seeking a viable database storage solution for large scalable applications. The key to Drizzle is several fold. First, the crud has been removed. The first part of Drizzle development is to remove bloat or non functioning software from the MySQL tree. In fact if you monitor the commits, it reads like, this has been removed, these files have been deleted, this code has been refactored, this new library has been introduced. Design decisions that have limited MySQL’s development for years are being simply cast aside.

The current landscape has become more complicated in 2008. You have the official MySQL releases, 5.0 is becoming ancient (being released almost 3 years ago), 5.1 is now clearly a lame duck, no release date for past few years, (the internal joke was 5.1 will be released in Q2, but the year is unspecified). 6.0 is in identity crisis with beta parts in alpha. These versions are moving so slowly, they are moving towards extinction like the dinosaurs. Monty Widenius is working solidly on Maria (and unofficial MySQL 5.1 branch), probably more stable and possibly released before 5.1. MySQL cluster has gone it’s own way, it was shackled by the 5.1 legacy and simply couldn’t wait for a GA product.

Jim Starkey (creator of Falcon, the new 6.0 storage engine) now is working in the clouds with Nimbus DB. Dorsal Source is lying dormant, Proven Scaling has it’s enterprise binaries and now Percona has it’s own patched ports. You have strong patches from Google and eBay that have zero hope of every being introduced into the official MySQL releases, probably until 7.x (5.1 and 6.0 have been frozen for a long time). Innodb from Oracle invested heavily in new features in a 5.1 plugin, announced at the MySQL Conference, broken in 1 day by MySQL releasing a new RC version making it in-compatible. Kickfire and Infobright have their own hacked versions, and Nitro DB I suspect have just given up waiting (now like 2 years).

With Sun’s acquisition now at T+6 months, cash and resources doesn’t appear to have helped with the official product. The single greatest movement in this period is that MySQL is now hosted under Launchpad, enabling anybody to access the source code, and even create branches like Jim Winstead reported. However I doubt you will see this helping code getting in the mainline product, but at least it will be more visible. This was an initiative long before the Sun acquisition, and indeed is against Sun policy of using Mercurial.

So why is Drizzle going to be any different or better?

You start with a committed list of contributors from already 6-7 different organizations. The clear goals of simplification, to make it faster and scale better on multi-core servers echo the work being done. You have developers who work in real world situations, not just coders for many years without experiencing operational use, and you have zero sales and marketing getting in the way. Removal of incomplete or stagnant functionality is key for the alpha version and includes stored procedures, triggers, prepared statements, query cache, extra data types, full-text, timezones etc is just the start.

Being small and nimble will enable Drizzle to develop and release code in much shorter iterations. You will see new developments allowing far greater plugin support via the new modularity approach and far better coding standards, making expert knowledge of how MySQL internals work a lesser requirement to contribute.

Will it fizzle, will it dazzle? Drizzle has the potential to be a stellar product. I’m a supporter and I hope to contribute in some small way.


About the Author

Ronald Bradford provides Consulting and Advisory Services in Data Architecture, Performance and Scalability for MySQL Solutions. An IT industry professional for two decades with extensive database experience in MySQL, Oracle and Ingres his expertise covers data architecture, software development, migration, performance analysis and production system implementations. His knowledge from 10 years of consulting across many industry sectors, technologies and countries has provided unique insight into being able to provide solutions to problems. For more information Contact Ronald.