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DejaGnu grew out of the internal needs of Cygnus Support. Cygnus maintains and enhances a variety of free programs in many different environments, and we needed a testing tool that:
Some of the requirements proved challenging. For example, interactive programs do not lend themselves very well to automated testing. But all the requirements are important: for instance, it is imperative to make sure that GDB works as well when cross-debugging as it does in a native configuration.
Probably the greatest challenge was testing in a cross-development
environment (which can be a real nightmare). Most cross-development
environments are customized by each developer. Even when buying
packaged boards from vendors there are many differences. The
communication interfaces vary from a serial line to ethernet. DejaGnu
was designed with a modular communication setup, so that each kind of
communication can be added as required, and supported thereafter. Once
a communication procedure is coded, any test can use it. Currently
DejaGnu can use
mondfe for remote communications.
Julia Menapace first coined the term "Deja Gnu" to describe an earlier testing framework at Cygnus Support. When we replaced it with the Expect-based framework, it was like DejaGnu all over again...
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