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A DSH (Distributed Shell) implementation in Ruby


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RuTTY is a DSH implementation in Ruby. You can use it to execute shell commands on multiple remote servers simultaneously using a tagging system to target just the servers you want.

Also supports SCP uploads to multiple remote servers using the same tagging system.


  • Ruby >= 1.8.7 (Now 1.9.x approved!)
  • Rubygems >= 1.3.7

###Development Requirements###

  • Bundler >= 1.0.0

###A note on running tests###

Since RuTTY is essentially a wrapper around SSH connections, a system that is capable of recieving SSH connections must be available to fully test this tool. Currently, I have the tests setup to attempt to log into the current system via the loopback interface (localhost) as the user who ran the tests (as detected by $USER). It attempts to do this on port 22 using the public key found in $HOME/.ssh/id_rsa.

Note that unless all these conditions are met on your system, tests will not be fully successful.


$ sudo gem install rutty
$ rutty init
$ rutty help

Or, for development checkouts:

$ git clone git://
$ cd rutty
$ gem install bundler ; bundle install
$ rake install



You must first initialize the RuTTY configuration and data directory with the rutty init command. This command takes an optional argument to specify the directory to install into. If omitted, it will install into ~/.rutty/. Note that if you install into a directory other than the default, you will have to supply the config to all the other commands with the -c option.

$ rutty init
         create  /Users/jlindsey/.rutty
         create  /Users/jlindsey/.rutty/config.yaml
         create  /Users/jlindsey/.rutty/nodes.yaml

###Adding Nodes###

After initialization, you must add nodes to the RuTTY config. This is done with the rutty add_node command. Invoking rutty help add_node will give you a list of all the options to pass into it. Any options you don't pass will be filled in from the defaults at $RUTTY_HOME/config.yaml.

$ rutty add_node -u root -k /Users/jlindsey/.ssh/id_rsa -g example,test

The above will add a node to the RuTTY config that looks like this (in YAML):

user: root
keypath: /Users/jlindsey/.ssh/id_rsa
	- example
	- test
port: 22

Note that the port: 22 line was filled in from the defaults because it was not specified.

###Running Commands###

Now that we have a node, we can run commands on it. The default RuTTY command is the dsh action, so it can be omitted. That is to say, the following two commands are identical:

$ rutty dsh -a uptime
$ rutty -a uptime

The dsh action can accept either a list of tags passed via -g or the -a flag, which will run the command on all defined nodes regardless of tags.

Note that any command that has any whitespace in it must be enclosed in quotes.

$ rutty -a "free -m"


The rutty dsh and rutty scp commands both allow the -g flag. The usage of this flag on these two commands is different than on add_node, where it is simply a list of tags to apply to the new node. On the remote commands, it essentially has three "modes": single tag, multiple comma-separated tags, and pseudo-SQL tag query.

The single tag mode is simple. The command

$ rutty dsh -g foobar uptime

will run the uptime command on every node that is tagged with "foobar".

The multiple tags mode is essentially an OR query. It will run the command on any nodes that have ANY of the specified tags. For example:

$ rutty dsh -g foo,baz,bar uptime

will run the uptime command on any nodes that are tagged with "foo" OR "baz" OR "bar".

The pseudo-SQL tag query mode provides the most control over your tags. This allows you to pass in a string that looks a bit like SQL, letting you specify complex rules for your tag lookup. For example:

$ rutty dsh -g "foo AND bar" uptime

will run uptime on any node that has BOTH "foo" and "bar" tags. The command

$ rutty dsh -g "foo OR (baz AND bar)" uptime

will run uptime on any node that has a "foo" tag OR any node that has BOTH "baz" and "bar" tags.


  • Add negation to tag query (eg something like "'foo' AND !'bar'" or "'foo' AND NOT 'bar'")
  • Refactor defaults config YAML to allow for a broader range of configuration options (max number of threads, default output format, etc)
  • Implement rutty upgrade action, which will upgrade your config files to the latest version
  • Make a GitHub page
  • Add multi_progress_bar to scp command

Note on Patches/Pull Requests

  • Fork the project.
  • Make your feature addition or bug fix.
  • Add tests for it. This is important so I don't break it in a future version unintentionally.
  • Commit, do not mess with rakefile, version, or history. (if you want to have your own version, that is fine but bump version in a commit by itself I can ignore when I pull)
  • Send me a pull request. Bonus points for topic branches.


Copyright (c) 2011 Josh Lindsey at Cloudspace. See LICENSE for details.


A DSH (Distributed Shell) implementation in Ruby