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Safe, parallel access to Unix shells from Ruby
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Rye - v0.3

Run system commands via SSH locally and remotely in a Ruby way.

Rye is similar to Rush but everything happens over SSH (no HTTP daemon) and the default settings are less powerful (for safety). For example, file globs are disabled so unless otherwise specified, you can't do this: rbox.rm('-rf', '/etc/*/').

See bin/try for working examples.


One of:

$ sudo gem install rye
$ sudo gem install delano-rye --source
$ git clone git://

EXAMPLE 1 – Basic Usage

rbox ='localhost')

# Commands are run as methods on the Rye::Box object
puts rbox.uptime                # => 11:02  up 16:01, 3 users

# The response value for all commands is a Rye::Rap object. The rap is a
# subclass of Array so you can treat it as an Array, but it can also act 
# like a String if there's only one element. 
puts'rye.test')           # => ""
puts'rye.test').stderr    # => ls: rye.test: No such file or directory

puts rbox.touch('rye.test')        # => ""
puts rbox.rm('rye.test')           # => ""

# You can change directories
puts rbox.pwd                      # => /home/rye
puts rbox['/usr/bin'].pwd          # => /usr/bin
puts rbox.pwd                      # => /usr/bin
puts'/home/rye').pwd      # => /home/rye

# You can specify environment variables
rbox.add_env(:RYE, "Forty Creek")
rbox.env                           # => ['HOME=/home/rye', 'RYE=Forty Creek', ...]

# The commands method returns an Array of available commands:                        
puts rbox.commands.join(', ')      # => pwd, touch, echo, wc, ...

# When you're done you can disconnect explicitly. 
# (Although Rye does this automatically at exit.)

EXAMPLE 2 – Disabling Safe-Mode

rbox_safe ='localhost')
rbox_wild ='localhost', :safe => false)

# Safe-mode is enabled by default. In safe-mode, all command 
# arguments are thoroughly escaped. This prevents access to
# environment variables and file globs (among other things).
p rbox_safe.echo('$HOME')                   # => "$HOME"
p rbox_safe['/etc'].ls('host*')             # => 
p'-l | wc -l')                # => 
p rbox_safe.echo('$HOME > /tmp/rye-home')   # => "$HOME > /tmp/home"
p'/tmp/rye-home')            # => 
p'/tmp/rye-home').stderr     # => "No such file or directory"

# Here's the same commands with safe-mode disabled:
p rbox_wild.echo('$HOME')                   # => "/home/rye"
p rbox_wild['/etc'].ls('host*')             # => ["hostconfig", "hosts"]
p'-l | wc -l')                # => 110
p rbox_wild.echo('$HOME > /tmp/rye-home')   # => 
p'/tmp/rye-home')            # => "/home/rye"
p rbox_wild.rm('/tmp/rye-home')             # =>

EXAMPLE 3 – Custom Commands

rbox ='localhost')
rbox.add_keys('/private/key/path')   # Specify additional private keys

# There's currently no rye900 command
p rbox.commands.member?('rye9000')   # => false

# But we can add our own commands to the Rye::Cmd class. They 
# automatically become available to all Rye::Box objects.
module Rye::Cmd
  def rye9000(*args)
    add_command("ls", args)
  def somescript(*args)
    add_command("/path/to/my/script", args)

# We can now run rye9000 (with arguments)
p rbox.rye9000('-a')                 # => [".", "..", ".bashrc", ...]
p rbox.commands.member?('rye9000')   # => true

EXAMPLE 4 – Accessing Multiple Machines

rset =
rbox =

rset.add_keys('/private/key/path')     # For passwordless logins 
rset.add_boxes(rbox, 'localhost')      # Add boxes as hostnames or objects

# Calling methods on Rye::Set objects is very similar to calling them on
# Rye::Box objects. In fact, it's identical:
p rset.uptime        # => [[14:19:02 up 32 days, 19:35 ...], [14:19:02 up 30 days, 01:35]]
p rset['/etc'].ls    # => [['file1', 'file2', ...], ['life1', 'life2', ...]]

# Like Rye::Box, the response value is a Rye::Rap object containing the
# responses from each box. Each response is itself a Rye::Rap object.
unames = rset.uname
p unames                               # => [["Darwin"], ["Darwin"]]
puts unames.class                      # => Rye::Rap

# The Rye::Rap object also keeps a reference to the object that called the 
# command. In this case, it will keep a reference to Rye::Set:
puts unames.set.class                  # => Rye::Set
puts unames.set == rset                # => true
puts unames.size                       # => 2
puts unames.first                      # => Darwin
puts unames.first.class                # => Rye::Rap
puts            # => Rye::Box
puts == rbox          # => true

# Envrionment variables can be set the same way as with Rye::Box
rset.add_env(:RYE, "Forty Creek")
p { |env| env =~ /RYE/ }  # => ["RYE=Forty Creek"]

About Safe-Mode

In safe-mode:

  • You can't use file globs. This means you can't do this:'*.rb').

  • Commands arguments cannot contain environment variables. However, environment variables are available to the commands you run. This means you can't do this: rbox.echo('$HOME').

  • Pipes and operators don't work: |, &&, >, <, ||, etc…

  • Backticks don't work either: procs=`ps aux`

Why? In safe-mode, all command arguments are escaped which turns all arguments into their literal values.

Using a Ruby interface to execute shell commands is pretty awesome, particularly to run them on several machines simultaneously. That's a lot of power and it's potentially very dangerous. That's why some stuff isn't available in Rye that you would otherwise expect to be able to do (particularly the file globs). There's probably a way to do it safely but it's not obvious yet (to me). If you have any ideas, I'd love to hear them!


  • Delano Mandelbaum (


  • Solutious Incorporated ( for all the orange juice.

  • The country of Canada for making Rye Whiskey.



  • Delano Mandelbaum (


See: LICENSE.txt

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