The purpose of the stress test is to reveal programming errors in the kernel, that could lead to downtime. The intended audience is kernel developers.
Testing is divided into two different tactics: General stress test programs and regression test scenarios.
The general test programs are a collection of small test programs, that primarily stress test the VFS subsystem. One other test program generates VM pressure, thus causing swapping. These are the primary ingredients for discovering locking errors on a SMP system.
The regression test scenarios are a collection of shell scripts that cover a much wider area of the kernel. Most scenarios are based on actual problems reported and fixed.