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Officer is a Ruby based lock server and client. It is designed to help you coordinate distributed processes and avoid race conditions. Inspiration comes from elock.

Read more in my blog post:


gem install officer


Officer uses the 'daemons' gem to simplify creating long lived background processes.

Help information:

Usage: officer [-hofplsdm]
    -h, --host=HOST                  The hostname or IP to bind to (default:
    -o, --socket-type=OPTION         TCP or UNIX (default: TCP)
    -f, --socket-file=FILE           Full path and name to the UNIX domain socket file (only used with '-o UNIX', default: /tmp/officer.sock)
    -p, --port=PORT                  The port to listen on (default: 11500)
    -l, --log-level                  Set the log level to debug, info, or error (default: error)
    -s, --stats                      Log stats every 5 seconds (default: off, required log level: info)
    -d, --pid-dir                    Set directory where pid file will be saved (default: operating system's run directory)
    -m, --max-idle                   Maximum idle time (in seconds) to wait before closing a connection that is idle and hasn't sent a keep alive (default: 60)

Run Officer in the foreground with full logging and statistics:

officer run -- -l debug -s -d /tmp

Run Officer in the background (production mode) and listen on a specific IP and port:

officer start -- -h -p 9999 -d /tmp

Other notes:

  • The server listens on by default.
  • All debugging and error output goes to stdout for now.
  • By default, a pid file is created in /var/run and stdout is written to /var/log/officer.output. This will require root permissions which is normally a bad idea. You can avoid this by picking a different directory (example: officer start -- -d /tmp).
  • I personally run Officer in production using Ruby Enterprise Edition (REE) which is based on Ruby 1.8.7.
  • RVM and JRuby users should check the Known Issues wiki page.
  • UNIX domain sockets are supported (example: officer start -- -o UNIX -p /tmp)

Create a client object

client = :host => 'localhost', :port => 11500


  • :host => Hostname or IP address of the server to bind to (default:
  • :port => TCP Port to listen on (default: 11500).
  • :socket_type => TCP or UNIX (default: TCP).
  • :socket_file => Full path to the server's UNIX domain socket file (default: /tmp/officer.sock). This option is only used when the socket type is UNIX.
  • :namespace => Prepend a namespace to each lock name (default: empty string).
  • :keep_alive_freq => Frequency (in Hz) to send a keep alive message (default: 6 Hz).

Lock a block of code

This is the preferred method for locking and unlocking in Officer. Note that it raises various exceptions as needed (see lib/officer/client.rb).

client.with_lock('some_lock_name', :timeout => 5) do
  puts 'hello world'


  • :timeout => The number of seconds to wait for a lock to become available (default: wait forever).
  • :queue_max => If the lock queue length is greater than :queue_max then don't wait for the lock (default: infinite).


Request the specified lock. Note that exceptions are not automatically raised so you will have to check for errors yourself. It is recommended to use with_lock where possible.

client.lock 'some_lock_name'


  • Same options as the above with_lock method.


Unlock the specified lock.

client.unlock 'some_lock_name'


Release all locks associated with this connection.



This method is useful if you use Officer with Phusion Passenger and smart spawning. See Passenger's documentation for more information. Note that all locks are released when you disconnect.



Close the connection to the server.


Show locks

Returns the internal state of all the server's locks.


Show connections

Returns the internal state of all the server's connections.


Show my locks


Supported Rubies

Officer is tested and used in production with MRI Ruby 1.9.x and newer. It should also work with any modern Ruby that supports EventMachine. You should avoid Ruby 1.8.x and older since the client library uses a background thread for network heartbeats. These heartbeats may be unreliable with Ruby 1.8 and it's green threads.

Contributing to Officer

  1. Check out the latest master to make sure the feature hasn't been implemented or the bug hasn't been fixed yet.
  2. Check out the issue tracker to make sure someone already hasn't requested it and/or contributed it.
  3. Fork the project.
  4. Start a feature/bugfix branch.
  5. Commit and push until you are happy with your contribution.
  6. Make sure to add tests for it. This is important so I don't break it in a future version unintentionally.
  7. Please try not to mess with the Rakefile, version, or history. If you want to have your own version, or is otherwise necessary, that is fine, but please isolate to its own commit so I can cherry-pick around it.


Copyright (c) 2010 - 2014 Chad Remesch. See LICENSE for details.