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A utility to hold a WSL session-set open continuously. Works in conjunction with wabashd.
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A utility to hold a WSL session-set open continuously. Works in conjunction with wabashd.

So, you want to keep daemons or disowned processes running under Windows Services for Linux even without a bash console open? Well, look no further, friends and users, because wabash is here to help, a simple utility which keeps the WSL session going in the background all the time. It is also capable (0.5.2 and later) of automatically starting any system services/daemons capable of being started by service(8).

If you enjoy it, consider sending me a buckazoid or two to encourage me to keep developing it:

paypal

I also accept cryptocurrencies!

DISCLAIMER

At present this is BETA SOFTWARE. It still has rough edges. Be prepared for those. Don't complain, just send issues to this github. Or pull requests, if you prefer.

Installation

The installation comes in two stages:

First, either

  • download the release file, and unzip it into a permanent home somewhere on your hard drive, accessible from WSL; OR
  • Install the wabash package using chocolatey.

Then, install the wabashd pseudo-daemon from the wsl-translinux apt repository, using apt-get install wabashd ; if you have not installed packages from the wsl-translinux repository before, you will need to edit your /etc/apt/sources.list file to enable it following the instructions here.

(An alternative to the default wabashd, which requires mono as a prerequisite, is the wabashd-shell package available in the same repository. This is an independently developed wabashd written in bash script, and as such has no dependency on mono.

It can be installed in place of, and should work identically to, the wabashd package. For more information and support, please see its repository at https://github.com/alternize/wabashd-shell .)

This works together with wabash.exe for Windows to keep your WSL session going. If that's not installed, wabash plain won't work.

Note that if you have been using a previous version of wabash using an earlier wabashd version, you must update to the supplied latest version of the .deb package.

Note that wabashd is compiled against the default xenial mono; if you're still on trusty - i.e., installed WSL before build 14936 and have not manually upgraded with do-release-upgrade - you will need to upgrade to xenial to run wabashd. If you are unsure which you're on, run lsb_release -a and check that the release number is 16.04 or higher.

If you intend to use the service-starting functionality of wabashd, you must edit your /etc/sudoers file with visudo , to include the line:

ALL ALL = (root) NOPASSWD: /usr/sbin/service

This permits wabashd to start the services as root without you having to type the root password in an otherwise unaccessible tty.

Starting services

The services started by wabashd are defined in the wabashd.exe.config file in the same folder as wabashd.exe,

WARNING: Chocolatey creates shim executables to point at the actual executables of programs installed through it to avoid having to list 17 zillion directories on your PATH. Thus, the wabash.exe you're looking for is NOT the one in \ProgramData\chocolatey\bin, but the one in \ProgramData\chocolatey\lib\wabash\tools.

in the following section:

<applicationSettings>
  <ArkaneSystems.Wabash.Properties.Settings>
    <setting name="Services" serializeAs="Xml">
      <value>
        <ArrayOfString xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" xmlns:xsd="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema">
          <string>rsyslog</string>
          <string>binfmt-support</string>
          <string>dbus</string>
          <string>cron</string>
          <string>atd</string>
        </ArrayOfString>
      </value>
    </setting>
  </ArkaneSystems.Wabash.Properties.Settings>
</applicationSettings>

By default, it will start rsyslog, binfmt-support, dbus, cron, and atd - you can comment out or delete any or all of these, or add other services, using the name required by the service command, in the same format.

Usage

Run wabash.exe, which runs as a little orange icon down in your notification area. As long as it's there, there's a WSL session open. Hovering over it gives you a count in the form:

Wabash: 0 sessions / 0 daemons

"sessions" is the number of WSL consoles you currently have open (technically, the number of "init" or "bash" processes which are children of the initial pid 1 init, i.e., the session leaders); "daemons" is the number of children of pid 1 that aren't more inits, which should be all the daemons (such as automatically started services) and any disowned processes.

You can open the wabash log from its right-click menu, but all its window contains at the moment is the stream of raw update messages sent by wabashd, which are very likely of little interest. You can also ping the daemon from the right-click menu if you just want to double-check that the communications are going on correctly, open your shell (as set in /etc/passwd - not necessarily bash), which is also the default double-click action for the icon, or set wabashd to run automatically at user login.

Exiting wabash from the right-click menu ends the WSL session (and all the daemons) if and only if there are no WSL consoles open: if there are, those will sustain the session until they are closed also. i.e., if you have a WSL shell going, you can exit and restart wabash and all the daemons, etc., will be preserved from one run to the next by the open shell.

If you need to kill wabash from Task Manager or otherwise terminate it without going through its exit menu, there will probably be a copy of wabashd left running. Before you can run wabash again successfully, you need to kill that:

kill -TERM <pid>

...where pid is the pid of the /usr/bin/mono running mono-service, not that of start-wabashd.

Also, while this pre-release will let you, you cannot run more than one wabash at once; all but the first will fail to start properly and can't be quit from the menu. You'll have to kill them in Task Manager, kill the wabashd if it's still running, then restart one and only one.

Enjoy!

Wabashd

Source code for the daemon half of wabash is kept in a separate repository here:

https://github.com/cerebrate/wabashd