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Sendmail in chroot-ed environment for CI purposes
Tue, 21 Dec 2010 22:33:23 +0000

Recently I've been working on simple continuous integration tool that builds fresh checkouts from Perforce and uploads binary artifacts to external FTP server for testing purposes. I'm using chrooted Debian Squeeze 32 bit environment inside 64 bit host based on RPM distro (basic chroot, a simpler form of BSD's chroot jail).

The frequent problem was failing builds caused by partial commits from different teams (client was not comfortable with shared codebase ownership idea). We decided to replace rule "before every commit check if all suite is building" to "minimize failed build time as possible". How to minize the problem if it cannot be avoided at all?

The simplest answer is: notify about build problems as soon as possible. Everyone will see an e-mail with latest committer and exact build error cause. Sounds simple? Let's implement it!

The main problem with sendind out e-mails from chroot-ed env is that typically SMTP daemon is not running in the same chroot-ed environment, so locally working e-mail tools (/usr/sbin/sendmail -t) probably will not work correctly. You have to use SMTP protocol to connect to host services (not very easy from shell scripts).

sSMTP is a simple proxy that can feed locally delived content (stdin) to remote SMTP server (smarthost). In our case SMTP daemon running on host will be used. Here's my configuration for sSMTP:

# cat /etc/ssmtp/ssmtp.conf

ssmtp can mimic /usr/sbin/sendmail binary usage, so probably your script will not change after switching to sSMTP. And here's the sample result (generated e-mail body):

Build CL162394 failed.
Whole log: ftp://SERVER_IP/SDK/rootfs/build-dev-162394.log

Last build lines:
In file included from /usr/local/(...)
xyz.h:181: error: 'ODPlaybackState' does not name a type
make: *** [sub-CoreApplications-make_default-ordered] Error 2
Tags: linux.


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