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SunWorld: Xvfb - A conversation every system administrator should hear

Mar 26, 2000, 15:49 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Cameron Laird, Kathryn Soraiz)

"This month, Cameron Laird and Kathyrn Soraiz sit in on a conversation between a couple of techies named Remus and Romulus on the subject of Xvfb. Read on and learn what Remus eventually does -- that Java boosts the importance of this old utility...."

"There are plenty of useful tests you can run on a graphical application without ever seeing its display: timing tests, tests that make sure that it adjusts to different color depths and environment parameters, tests of command-line arguments and other external interfaces, load testing, code-coverage profiles, and so on. Smart quality-assurance engineers certainly know about Xvfb...."

"Even though it's an old utility, Xvfb is attracting renewed attention from a new generation of Java programmers. Abstract window toolkit (AWT) implementations for Unix expect to be connected to a DISPLAY. People experimenting with image processors written in Java are finding that they can, for example, automate everything about an application, although they do need Xvfb or VNC for headless work. Jason Hunter's book on Java Servlet Programming nicely illustrates this with a discussion of just-in-time generation of images destined for the Web. While his footnote on DISPLAYs slightly mangles the facts, he correctly emphasizes to readers that they need to get the X configuration right before they can hope for results."

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