Helpful Unix service utilities
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Boatshoes: helpful Unix service utilities

Boatshoes is a small library of helpful tools for creating Linux/Unix services. Specifically, it includes the following:

  • DaemonContext, a pipe-communicating daemonization routine, allowing your application to exit with the correct code even after daemonization.
  • SingleInstance, an RAII-style PID lock, following the correct Unix way: file locking with fcntl



DaemonContext serves as a context manager for daemonization, allowing the application to exit with meaningful error codes. These codes are important in instances where the application is being run by init.d. To create such a context, use a with statement, as so:

with DaemonContext(True) as dc:

Within the context, the application will initialize. If an error crops up, you can set the return value for the context object (using the names as above) as:

dc.return_value = 187 

When the context exits, the parent will then exit with the appropriate return code. Of course, if for some perverse reason you wanted to, you could catch the raised SystemExit exception and handle it yourself.

The DaemonContext constructor takes a single boolean parameter that specifies whether or not the application should daemonize. If the parameter is False, the context is basically a no-op. This enables applications to accept a command-line parameter specifying whether or not to daemonize.

For more detailed information, please see the example in examples/


SingleInstance is a RAII-style process PID lock that uses preferred Unix semantics. Specifically, it handles single instance guaranteeing by acquiring a system file lock on the pidfile and writing its PID. This lock is held until the application exits, at which point the kernel will clean up the lock.

To use SingleInstance, simply instantiate the object with the path to the lockfile. It will take care of the rest.