Title

Recommending code changes for automatic backporting of Linux device drivers

Publication Type

Conference Proceeding Article

Publication Date

10-2016

Abstract

Device drivers are essential components of any operating system (OS). They specify the communication protocol that allows the OS to interact with a device. However, drivers for new devices are usually created for a specific OS version. These drivers often need to be backported to the older versions to allow use of the new device. Backporting is often done manually, and is tedious and error prone. To alleviate this burden on developers, we propose an automatic recommendation system to guide the selection of backporting changes. Our approach analyzes the version history for cues to recommend candidate changes. We have performed an experiment on 100 Linux driver files and have shown that we can give a recommendation containing the correct backport for 68 of the drivers. For these 68 cases, 73.5%, 85.3%, and 88.2% of the correct recommendations are located in the Top-1, Top-2, and Top-5 positions of the recommendation lists respectively. The successful cases cover various kinds of changes including change of record access, deletion of function argument, change of a function name, change of constant, and change of if condition. Manual investigation of failed cases highlights limitations of our approach, including inability to infer complex changes, and unavailability of relevant cues in version history.

Keywords

Backporting, Device Drivers, Linux, Recommendation system

Discipline

Computer Sciences | Software Engineering

Research Areas

Software and Cyber-Physical Systems

Publication

ICSME 2016: Proceedings of the 32nd IEEE International Conference on Software Maintenance and Evolution, Raleigh, NC, October 2-7, 2016

First Page

222

Last Page

232

ISBN

9781509038060

Identifier

10.1109/ICSME.2016.71

Publisher

IEEE

City or Country

Piscataway, NJ

Additional URL

http://doi.org/10.1109/ICSME.2016.71

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