Recommending Code Changes for Automatic Backporting of Linux Device Drivers

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.
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https://hal.inria.fr/hal-01355859
Contributor : Julia Lawall <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, October 19, 2016 - 2:30:48 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, March 21, 2019 - 1:19:18 PM
Long-term archiving on : Friday, February 3, 2017 - 12:24:28 PM

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Ferdian Thung, Dinh Xuan Bach Le, David Lo, Julia Lawall. Recommending Code Changes for Automatic Backporting of Linux Device Drivers. 32nd IEEE International Conference on Software Maintenance and Evolution (ICSME), IEEE, Oct 2016, Raleigh, North Carolina, United States. ⟨hal-01355859⟩

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