42 Variability Bugs in the Linux Kernel: A Qualitative Study

Research output: Conference Article in Proceeding or Book/Report chapterArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


Feature-sensitive verification pursues effective analysis of the exponentially many variants of a program family. However, researchers lack examples of concrete bugs induced by variability, occurring in real large-scale systems. Such a collection of bugs is a requirement for goal-oriented research, serving to evaluate tool implementations of feature-sensitive analyses by testing them on real bugs. We present a qualitative study of 42 variability bugs collected from bug-fixing commits to the Linux kernel repository. We analyze each of the bugs, and record the results in a database. In addition, we provide self-contained simplified C99 versions of the bugs, facilitating understanding and tool evaluation. Our study provides insights into the nature and occurrence of variability bugs in a large C software system, and shows in what ways variability affects and increases the complexity of software bugs.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication ASE '14 Proceedings of the 29th ACM/IEEE international conference on Automated software engineering
Number of pages12
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Publication date2014
ISBN (Print)978-1-4503-3013-8
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventIEEE/ACM International Conference on Automated Software Engineering - Aros Congress Centre, Västerås, Sweden
Duration: 15 Sept 201419 Sept 2014
Conference number: 29


ConferenceIEEE/ACM International Conference on Automated Software Engineering
LocationAros Congress Centre
Internet address


  • Bugs
  • Feature interactions
  • Linux
  • Software Variability


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