Before a stable release, we always do as much testing as possible. The 900 pound gorilla of testers is Antoine's tester scripts. This tester can run as long as several days, and does a great number of both fixed and random tests, and if it completes with no errors, you have a pretty good idea that the code is fairly solid. Even the casual user ought to run the sanity testing as a matter of course, and that should always be ran and passed first. Also, much of the methodology for understanding output, tracking down problems, etc, is the same for this tester and the sanity test, so read those sections first for tips I will not bother to repeat here.
You can run this full tester with this simple command given in your BLDdir:
This can run for as long as several days (on modern machines, it usually takes more like 4-8 hours). If your connection to the machine is not stable, it can die before the test is complete, so it makes sense to nohup this command and redirect the output. I usually do (using tcsh):
nohup make full_test >& make.out &
Once you are done, you can auto-search for error messages with:
make scope full_test