Task metadata

This section describes the metadata which must be defined in each Beaker task. The beaker-wizard utility will help you to populate this metadata correctly when creating a new task (see An example task). A sample Makefile is also included in the rhts-devel package as /usr/share/doc/rhts-devel-*/Makefile.template.

These details apply to tasks written using the default harness (beah). Programs written using an alternative harness will likely be configured differently — consult the documentation for the specific harness in use.

Makefile variables

The following environment variables must be exported in the task’s Makefile. These variables are used by rhts-make.include and its anxillary scripts when building the task RPM.


The name of the task. The name is a hierarchical path beginning with a slash (/), similar to a filesystem path. For example, /distribution/mypackage/test-suite. The task name is available as TEST in the task’s environment.

The task name is prefixed with /mnt/tests to form the directory where it will be installed on the system under test. This directory is available as TESTPATH.

The task should report results relative to its name (see rhts-report-result).

The version of the task. This becomes the version of the task RPM when it is built. As a consequence, it may contain only numbers, digits, and period (.).
A whitespace-separated list of all the files to be included in the task RPM. This must include at least testinfo.desc (typically given as $(METADATA)),, and Makefile. If a task uses any additional scripts or data, those files must be listed here.
Files which are generated or compiled by other rules in the Makefile should be listed in this variable, rather than in FILES, so that they are built when the task RPM is built.
This can be used with the Path metadata field described in the next section. It is not defined by the user but defined by rhts tools to concatenate /mnt/tests with the name of the test or $(TEST).

Fields in testinfo.desc

The testinfo.desc file declares metadata about the task. The metadata is extracted by Beaker and made available in the task library. The harness also uses this metadata, for example to determine the allowed watchdog time for the task.

This file is typically generated by the Makefile as part of the build process, although it can also be edited and committed directly to source control.

The following fields are recognized by Beaker. They are ordered first with mandatory fields then optional.


Description (required) must contain exactly one string.

For example:

Description: This test tries to map five 1-gigabyte files with a single process.
Description: This test tries to exploit the recent security issue for large pix map files.
Description: This test tries to panic the kernel by creating thousands of processes.


License (required) identifies the type of license protection this task has. These include GPL, GPLv2, GPLv2+, GPL3, Red Hat Internal, or Red Hat Confidential. A sample configuration of this parameter appears as follows:

License:         GPLv2+

For further details on GNU Licensing, refer to When ‘Red Hat Internal or Confidential’ is configured, this task rpm is not available for public use.


Name (required) It is assumed that any result-reporting framework will organize all available tests into a hierarchical namespace, using forward-slashes to separate components of names (analogous to a path). This field specifies the namespace where the task results will be recorded in Beaker, and serves as a unique ID for the task. Since task names are used to define filesystem paths (for example, tasks will be installed under the path /mnt/tests/<task-name>), they are limited to characters that are usable within a file system path.

For fast indexing purposes, task names are limited to 255 characters.


Owner (required) is the person responsible for this task. Acceptable values are a subset of the set of valid email addresses, requiring the form: “Owner: human readable name <username@domain>”.


Path (required) specifies which directory the task rpm on the test system is installed. This is an informational attribute only and appears when displaying tasks when using the Task Library UI. If the user gets onto the test system, they can go to this directory to review their installed rpm data. To define this in the Makefile, it should appear as follows:

Path:            $(TEST_DIR)


TestTime (required) represents the upper limit of time that the script should execute before being terminated. That is, the harness or lab controller should automatically abort the test after this time period has expired. This is to guard against cases where a test has entered an infinite loop or caused a system to hang. This field can be used to achieve better test lab utilization by preventing the test from running on a system indefinitely.

The value of the field should be a number followed by either the letter “m” or “h” to express the time in minutes or hours. It can also be specified in seconds by giving just a number. In most cases, it is recommended to provide a value in at least minutes rather than seconds.

The time should be the absolute longest a test is expected to take on the slowest platform supported, plus a 10% margin of error. Setting the time too short may lead to spurious cancellations, while setting it too long may waste lab system time if the task does get stuck. Durations of less than one minute are not recommended, as they usually run some risk of spurious cancellation, and it’s typically reasonable to take a minute to abort the test after an actual infinite loop or deadlock.

For example:

TestTime: 90   # 90 seconds
TestTime: 1m   # 1 minute
TestTime: 2h   # 2 hours


(required) This is the version of the task provided in the loaded RPM. Configuration of this attribute should appear as follows where this is an initial release:

TestVersion:     0.1              # OR
TestVersion:     $(TESTVERSION)   # if defined in Makefile


Architectures (optional) provides the ability to classify tasks for specific architectures. You can provide a list of excluded architectures or a list of exclusive architectures. For an excluded list, each architecture provided must be proceeded with a minus sign(-). This includes all architectures except those listed. For an exclusive list, no proceeding sign is required. You can only configure an excluded or exclusive list and not a combination of both.

If the task is expected to only run on x86_64 architecture, then configure the following:

Architectures: x86_64

If the task is expect to NOT run on architecture x86_64 nor i386, do as follows:

Architectures: -x86_64 -i386

The list of architectures you can choose from can be found in Distros Section.


Bugs (optional) allows user to identify which bugs filed in Bugzilla are associated to this task. The following are sample configurations:

# Single Line
Bug: 9999999    OR Bugs: 9999999

# Multiple Bugzillas
Bugs: 77777777 88888888

# Or multiple Bugzillas on multiple lines
Bugs: 77777777
Bugs: 88888888


Destructive (optional) is used to classify tasks which are destructive. Determination of what classifies as destructive is up to the user defining the test. To define this task as destructive, configure the following:

Destructive: Yes

Since tasks can be filtered by the bkr task-list CLI, it is recommended to define the task with this attribute with Yes or No; otherwise, it will not be found.


Environment (optional) is used to pass task environment data to test harnesses. The following can be set to alter defaults in beah:

Environment:     RHTS_PORT=<your chosen port> else beah uses random port(7080-7099)

This field can occur multiple times within the metadata. So you can configure the following:

Environment:    META_VAR1=<your var1 data>
Environment:    META_VAR2=<your var2 data>
Environment:    META_VAR3=<your var3 data>


Priority (optional) allows user to classify a task’s priority. This has no affect on the execution of the job. Recommended values are as follows:

Low, Medium, Normal, High, Manual

The following is a sampling to configure this attribute:

Priority: High


Provides (optional) allows the task creator to specify the capabilities that the task RPM provides upon install. In addition to the default Provides generated by RPM, every task provides a virtual capability derived from the task name. For example, the /distribution/check-install task also provides test(/distribution/check-install).

You can specify additional capabilities by adding new Provides lines (using a similar syntax to Requires). For example, if your task provides equivalent or better functionality than an old task, you can add a Provides such as the one below:

Provides: test(/old/task/name)


(optional) Some tests are only applicable to certain distribution releases. For example, a kernel bug may only be applicable to RHEL3 which contains the 2.4 kernel. Limiting the release should only be used when a task will not execute on a particular release. Otherwise, the release should not be restricted so that your test can run on as many different releases as possible.

You can populate the optional Releases field in two different ways. To exclude certain releases but include all others, list the releases each prefixed with a minus sign (-). To include certain releases but exclude all others, list the included releases.

For example, if your task runs only on RHEL6 and RHEL7:

Releases: RedHatEnterpriseLinux6 RedHatEnterpriseLinux7

Or, if your task is expected to run on any release except for RHEL3 & RHEL4:

Releases: -RedHatEnterpriseLinux3 -RedHatEnterpriseLinux4

Releases are identified by their OS major version. You can browse a list of OS versions in Beaker by selecting Distros ‣ Family from the menu. For example:

  • RedHatEnterpriseLinux3
  • RedHatEnterpriseLinux4
  • RedHatEnterpriseLinuxServer5
  • RedHatEnterpriseLinuxClient5
  • RedHatEnterpriseLinux6
  • RedHatEnterpriseLinux7
  • RedHatEnterpriseLinux8
  • Fedora17

Your Beaker administrator may have configured compatibility aliases for some OS versions, which you can also use in the Releases field. See OS versions in the Administration Guide.


Requires (optional) indicates one or more the packages that are required to be installed on the test machine for the test to work. The package being tested (if any) is automatically included via the RunFor field. Aside from the package under test and the test harness itself, anything needs for execution must be included here.

This field can occur multiple times within the metadata. Each value should be a space-separated list of package names, or of kickstart package group names preceded with an @ sign. Each package or group must occur within the distribution tree under test (specifically, it must appear in the comps.xml file).

For example:

Requires: gdb
Requires: @legacy-software-development
Requires: @kde-software-development
Requires: -pdksh

The last example above shows that we don’t want a particular package installed for this test. Normally you shouldn’t have to do this unless the package is installed by default.

In a lab implementation, the dependencies of the packages listed can be automatically loaded using yum.

Note that unlike an RPM spec file, only dependencies on actual package names are permitted (depending on a “virtual” provides is not supported — however, see RhtsRequires for a limited exception). Furthermore, even if some dependencies cannot be resolved, Beaker will attempt to execute the task anyway (this simplifies some issues with cross-version tasks as described below).

If a task dependency ever changes in a backwards incompatible way, one of the approaches below may be helpful:

  • if only a dependency has changed name, specify both the names of dependencies in the Requires: field (enabling this is the reason that missing packages are silently ignored).
  • it may be possible to work around the differences by logic in the section of the Makefile that generates the testinfo.desc file.
  • for major changes, split the test, so that each incompatible version is handled by a separate task in a sub-directory, with the common files built from a shared directory in the Makefile.

When writing a multihost test involving multiple roles client(s) and server(s), the union of the requirements for all of the roles must be listed here.


(optional) You can indicate that your task does not need to be run inside the rhts-compat service:

RhtsOptions: -Compatible

This option has no effect on newer distros. See The rhts-compat service.


RhtsRequires (optional) indicates the other beaker tests that are required to be installed on the test machine for the test to work.

This field can occur multiple times within the metadata. Each value should consist of a task name in the form test(<task-name>). Each task dependency named this way must exist in the Beaker task library or the task will be aborted.

For example:

RhtsRequires: test(/distribution/rhts/common)


RunFor (optional) allows entries in the Beaker task library to be associated with specific packages for test execution and reporting purposes. It is only relevant for tasks that are specifically written as tests for particular packages rather than as general utilities.

When testing a specific package, that package should be listed in this field. If the test might reasonably be affected by changes to another package, the other package should also be listed here. If a package changes names but the task remains applicable, then all of the package’s names should be listed here.

This field is optional and can occur multiple times within the metadata. The value should be a space-separated list of package names.


(optional) To classify the type of task, one of the following is recommended:

Regression, Performance, Stress, Certification, Security,
Durations, Interoperability, Standardscompliance, Customeracceptance,
Releasecriterium, Crasher, Tier1, Tier2, Alpha,
KernelTier1, KernelTier2, Multihost, MultihostDriver, Install,
FedoraTier1, FedoraTier2, KernelRTTier1, KernelReporting, Sanity, Library

Configuration of this attribute should appear as follows if you’ve chosen Sanity as your type:

Type:            Sanity