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Run GUI-Applications with Xvfb without any X-server

To run a GUI-application without having access to a X-server is needed in many cases. The automated execution of an GUI-Test is such an example. But in this case, the needed solution concerning automation must be much more, than only calling the test. In best case, the same script can be executed on all different plattforms to run the test wihtout any x-server needed.

Xvfb is a good choice to run GUI-Applications in a fake X-server

To solve the first problem, xvfb is a good solution. It is able to run the application without access to an X-server and further on, without any X-Server running at all. But the problems with this solution rises fast, if the execution should be plattform independent. The reason is not only the different names of the package on each distribution, but also that some distributions does not even have a handy script to run an application inside xvfb. On Debian based distributions it is quite easy. The package is called xvfb and an application can be executed in it with xvfb-run -a APPLICATION. On RPM based distributions, it is not so easy. But with help of the table below, it is easy to find out the package name of xvfb on each distribution. You can also see if the script is shipped with the package ore not and if not, it can be downloaded from here.

If you have such a script for some other distributions, we're really happy, if you gave us that script, so that we can made it available here too.

Overview over the plattforms and the adapted xvfb-run scripts

Distribution Package Link to adapted script
Debian xvfb By distro
Ubuntu xvfb By distro
OpenSUSE xorg-x11-server-extra Adapted from Debian
Fedora xorg-x11-server-Xvfb By distro
CentOS xorg-x11-server-Xvfb Adapted from Debian (same as for OpenSUSE)
Mandriva x11-server-xvfb By distro