Printer function test after distribution update

Print as Print Can

Article from Issue 187/2016
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Cautious administrators will want to make sure a Linux installation is still working as intended after an update. A simple test suite offers that assurance.

If you are an administrator and regularly thrill your flock of users with Linux distribution updates, you will want to avoid annoying complaints and problems by actually testing the functionality up front. As an example of a potential approach, this article looks at how to check a shared printer.

When you type "Printers" into the Ubuntu search field, you are taken to a dialog displaying all the connected printers (Figure 1). You could select a printer manually at this point and talk it into printing a test page. But, how can you use an automated test to handle this task – and other tests for similar situations?

First Attempt

The Linux Desktop Testing Project (LDTP) [1] is dedicated to testing GUIs on all kinds of platforms, including Windows. LDTP relies on the accessibility features of window managers like Gnome or KDE and even lets you control them remotely. The project, however, does not look very healthy, and the documentation is gappy. Even following a request I sent to the developers, I was unable to talk the GUI into responding appropriately, because either the LDTP daemon crashed or did something unexpected compared with what the sparse documentation advertised. Definitely a good idea, but maintenance needs to be improved if the project is to be of any practical use.

[...]

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