Software

Feature Consistency in Compile-Time - Configurable System Software

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Executive Summary

Much system software can be configured at compile time to tailor it with respect to a broad range of supported hardware architectures and application domains. A good example is the Linux kernel, which provides more than 10,000 configurable features, growing rapidly. From the maintenance point of view, compile-time configurability imposes big challenges. The configuration model (the selectable features and their constraints as presented to the user) and the configurability that is actually implemented in the code have to be kept in sync, which, if performed manually, is a tedious and error-prone task. In the case of Linux, this has led to numerous defects in the source code, many of which are actual bugs.

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