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README.md

THIS IS RELEASE EARLY CODE! Maybe that the latest version introduces bugs.

PtyBuffer Build Status

ptybuffer

For the impatient

git clone https://github.com/hilbix/ptybuffer.git
cd ptybuffer
git submodule update --init
make
sudo make install

Example how to autostart and control processes in background:

mkdir -p ~/bin ~/autostart ~/autorun
cp script/autostart.sh ~/bin/
cp script/helloworld.sh ~/autostart/
cp autorun/helloworld.sh ~/autorun/
{ crontab -l; echo '* * * * * bin/autostart.sh >/dev/null'; } | crontab -
~/bin/autostart.sh

socat - unix:/var/tmp/autostart/$LOGNAME/helloworld.sock
socat - unix:/var/tmp/autostart/$LOGNAME/helloworld.sock

More info:

./ptybuffer -h
head test/test.sh

See also:

  • https://github.com/hilbix/watcher/ is designed to display running autostarts: watcher.py /var/tmp/autostart/$LOGNAME/*.sock and in future it perhaps even can control them.

Variables

With option -a following variables are output:

  • INFO What was given to option -y
  • PPID process id of parent proces which forked ptybuffer
  • PID process id of ptybuffer
  • PTY the PTY the child is running on
  • CHILD process id of the forked child
  • BYTES number of bytes output by the child so far
  • BLOCKS number of blocks (reads) from the child
  • STARTBLOCK output starts with this block number
  • HISTORYBLOCKS number of history blocks available
  • HISTORYMAX max number of history blocks available (Option -n)
  • SKIPBYTES number of bytes no more in history
  • SKIPBLOCKS number of blocks no more in history
  • SOCKETS number of sockets used currently
  • SOCKFD current socket FD (see /proc/$PID/fd/)
  • SOCKNAME type and name of the socket used
  • . end of list

Following variables are given to the child as well with the prefix PTYBUFFER_:

INFO, PPID, PID, PTY, CHILD

About

ptybuffer

  • daemonizes. With option -d it runs in foreground

  • calls a process (arg2 and above) with a PTY. Stdlib usually makes output line buffered this way.

  • gathers the output history of the pty for later view. Currently this is 1000 reads (not neccessarily lines, see option -n).

  • listens for connects to the unix socket (command line arg 1)

  • outputs the PTY history to the connected unix socket and continuously sends all new output to the connected unix socket.

  • reads (full) lines from the connected unix sockets and send them to the PTY (line can be max. 10K bytes long or so).

  • allows multiple concurrent connects to the unix socket. This way several persons in parallel can control one process.

This is better than running background tasks using screen or tmux:

  • Screen blocks all connects if one session freezes. ptybuffer is thought to always let the program run, regardless what mess the socket connections might do. If a connect stalls, it just discards data to the frozen connect and if the connect catches up, it tells the fact.

  • Concurrent access is no problem. Lines are always sent as full lines. (Except when option -i is used.)

  • History of output is clearly defined, not just something like a window.

  • Naturally scrolling logfile support. Eases development in case you have excessive debugging active and want to see the output as soon as it comes from the program, even without shell access.

  • You can control where the socket is. This improves oversight in case you have running several commands in parallel.

  • Easy to use from web scripting languages like PHP which can directly connect to a Unix Domain Socket. Really no need to use error prone constructs like expect.

  • If the central process of screen or tmux dies, all background tasks die as well. Ptybuffer runs independently for each task.

  • Ptybuffer does not interpret the terminal. So no complicated code which might hide bugs.

Bugs

  • Very long lines are discarded. Use option -i if this is a problem. Then, however, no line buffering is done, which might cause confusion if more than one input socket is open.

  • ptybuffer does not unlink() the socket if option -f and -c are missing. This is a feature.

  • New version have not been tested much before release.

  • If you send data to ptybuffer and close the socket very fast, the EOF on the write side closes the socket before everything can be read from the read side by the select-loop. Luckily, usually not much is sent to the controlled process this way (one line or so), so a short sleep should be enough for ptybuffer to gather the data. To fix this BUG I must implement the socket flags first and restructure the the EOF processing a bit - no time for it now, it currently works good enough for me.

Example

See introductory comment in test/test.sh

See script/autostart.sh with example script/helloworld.sh

For a PHP usage example see the php/ subdirectory.

You need a program capable to send data to unix sockets to control the program running in ptybuffer. socat is your friend.

script/autostart.sh

This is my way of autostarting things. Perhaps you want to use SystemD today, but this still does not solve the PTY problem.

Using autostart.sh it is easy to quickly write interactive controllable background deamons from shell level. That's why it was done. See script/helloworld.sh which runs autorun/helloworld.sh

autostart.sh runs all scripts found in ~/autostart/* and ~/autostart/*/*.

  • ~/autostart/*/* is meant for softlinks in ~/autostart/ to other projects which have such an autostart directory
  • autostart.sh is graceful if some softlink is pointing nowhere or unreadable scripts.
  • All scripts must be executable, if not, they are ignored
  • Dotfiles (~/autostart/.*) are ignored as usual for shell globbing
    • This way you can create template-files easily, and softlink them to the real script (with the usual $0 trick to change behavior).

From v0.12.2 the script name can contain options to ptybuffer, such that you can use different settings for different scipts, too. For this the script is named scriptname.-*-.sh or scriptname.-*- (which is intended to be unusual so it is unlikely that you ever used this. Please do not forget the trailing -):

  • Options (which are usually lowercase) are encoded as uppercase letters in -*-
    • All other uppercase letters are prohibited in this file part
  • This is hackish, so do not expect that this is graceful to accidents.
    • It is not meant for filesystems which are case insensitive, sorry.
  • Option -y must come last and uses all what comes after it as the argument (excluding the trailing -).
    • You cannot use uppercase here, as this would be seen as Option (I wrote: hackish)
    • Example: script.-LOYhello_world-.sh
  • Options -l and -o are inverse options and suppress the -l and -o feature.
  • Options -n, -t and -u take a numeric parameter
    • This is the next number sequence found after the first occurance of the parameter
    • The number need not follow directly, it can be anywhere after.
    • A missing number is treated as a certain default
  • For details please see grep args script/autostart.sh

DISCLAIMER

USE AT YOUR OWN RISK! I CANNOT ACCEPT ANY LIABLILITY FOR ANYTHING! THIS IS RELEASE EARLY CODE! IT IS CONSIDERED TO BE INSTABLE!

DON'T TRUST SOURCES! READ THEM! READ THEM AGAIN! AND BE SURE THERE ARE NO KNOWN BACKDOORS IN THEM! IT'S OPEN SOURCE, SO YOU CAN CHECK!

I tried my best. However I am human. So I make mistakes. Be prepared. All I guarantee is, that I never do anything to harm you by purpose.

Copyright (C)2004-2018 by Valentin Hilbig

ptybuffer may be distributed freely under the conditions of the GPL2 (GNU General Public License version 2) or higher.

(Note: In future I might re-release it more permissively under CLL)

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daemonize interactive tty line driven programs with output history

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