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Ziegler, Andreas, Rothberg, Valentin, Lohmann, Daniel.  2016.  Analyzing the Impact of Feature Changes in Linux. Proceedings of the Tenth International Workshop on Variability Modelling of Software-intensive Systems. :25–32.

In a software project as large and as rapidly evolving as the Linux kernel, automated testing systems are an integral component to the development process. Extensive build and regression tests can catch potential problems in changes before they appear in a stable release. Current systems, however, do not systematically incorporate the configuration system Kconfig. In this work, we present an approach to identify relationships between configuration options. These relationships allow us to find source files which might be affected by a change to a configuration option and hence require retesting. Our findings show that the majority of configuration options only affects few files, while very few options influence almost all files in the code base. We further observe that developers sometimes value usability over clean dependency modelling, leading to counterintuitive outliers in our results.