[Deprecated] User settings

User-defined local settings

Warning This document describes user settings file format .conf which will soon be deprecated. Please use the latest settings file format i.e. .toml. More information on it can be found here.

The user settings file is intended to be created by end-users with options specific to their local setup. It can also be used by automated CI systems, in particular to hide secret API tokens. The format is similar to INI although it is parsed by the Python 3 configparser package.

The default name for the file is kernelci.conf and it has several standard potential locations:

  • kernelci.conf in the current working directory,
  • ~/.config/kernelci/kernelci.conf for per-user settings,
  • /etc/kernelci/kernelci.conf for system-wide settings.

Unless directly specified on the command line with the --settings argument, each of the default locations above will be visited in that order until one is found to exist. Only one settings file will be loaded, the first one found.

Settings are defined in separate sections within the file, as described in detail below. Regardless of what is set in the file, each option can always be overridden on the command line. So if you set kdir: linux in the settings file as the default path to the Linux kernel source directory, you can always override it with --kdir=/some/other/path on the command line (say, if you want to occasionally use a different source tree). This applies to all the options as they are derived from the list of arguments supported by each command.

There is a convention to convert the command line argument names to settings names, with the -- being dropped and single dashes - replaced with underscores _. This is identical to what the Python 3 argparse module does to convert command line argument names to Python object attributes. A few examples:

  • --kdir becomes kdir
  • --lab-config becomes lab_config

To get started quickly, see the kernelci.conf.sample file. You can copy it as kernelci.conf into a suitable location as described above and edit it to suit your particular needs.

Command sections

Each command line tool will be looking for a section with a matching name in the settings file, such as [kci_build], [kci_test] or [kci_data]. These are not required to be in the file, but can be used to provide default values for command line arguments. For example:


mirror: linux-mirror.git
kdir: linux
build_env: gcc-10
j: 3

With the values set above, instead of running this:

kci_build update_mirror --build-config=mainline --mirror=linux-mirror.git

you can now omit the --mirror argument:

kci_build update_mirror --build-config=mainline

Component sections

Other sections are specific to a component, such as a test lab or a database backend. This is to allow different values to be set for a same option depending on the component being used, and also to allow these values to be used by all the command line tools.

The component names are derived from entries defined in the YAML configuration files, such as runtime-configs.yaml or db-configs.yaml. However, the settings file can be used to keep values that don’t belong in the YAML configuration such as secret API tokens or arbitrary user-specific choices.

Each component section name in the settings file will be composed of two parts, separated by a colon : character:

  • a prefix with the type of component such as lab or db
  • the name of the component

For example, if you define a lab called my-lava-lab in runtime-configs.yaml, you can create a section called [lab:my-lava-lab] in the settings file. You can refer to it with --lab-config=my-lava-lab on the command line, or even set lab_config: my-lava-lab in the [DEFAULT] section to always pick this one by default. Here’s an example:


lab_config: my-lava-lab


user: user-name
lab_token: 1234-5678

[DEFAULT] section

As per the INI file standard specifications, the [DEFAULT] section is where catch-all default values can be set regardless of the settings section being looked up. The example above shows how this can be used, for a default lab_config value across all the command line tools. But values in the [DEFAULT] section also apply to component sections. Say, if you have set up several labs but they all need the same user name to access their API, you can set user in the [DEFAULT] section and not have to repeat it in each [lab:lab-name] section.

A more complete example

It’s worth noting that for a same command, some settings values will be found in a tool section such as [kci_test] while others will be found in a component section such as [lab:lab-name]. Others may be found in the [DEFAULT] section, and finally any option can always be provided or overridden on the command line.

For example, if you have these values in your kernelci.conf settings file:


db_config: localhost


callback_id: kernelci-callback-local
callback_url: http://localhost:5001


kdir: linux
build_env: gcc-10

you can then run these commands:

kci_build build_kernel --arch=arm64 --defconfig=defconfig
kci_build install_kernel --build-config=mainline

The kci_build build_kernel command normally requires --kdir and --build-env, they are both defined in the [kci_build] section so they can be dropped on the command line. The --arch and --defconfig options are still passed on the command line here, because they’re more likely to change between kernel builds. If you build the same architecture and defconfig most of the time, you can still set some default values for them under the [kci_build] section and drop them from the command line too until you need to build a different one. Say if you mostly build arm64, you can set it in the settings file, but if you need to build x86_64 one day you can pass --arch=x86_64 on the command line without having to edit the settings file.

Then the kci_build install_kernel command normally requires --kdir, --db-token and --db-config. These can all be found in the settings file, so they don’t need to be provided on the command line: db_config is in the [DEFAULT] section, db_token in the [db:localhost] section and kdir in the [kci_build] section.

Last modified August 5, 2021