Laffey Computer Imaging

spinner - from Laffey Computer Imaging now

Price: $0 (GPL License)

Current Version: 1.2.4

Date Modified: Feb. 17, 2003


Spinner is an anti-idle program that displays a little "spinning" ASCII character in the top left corner of your terminal. To make this effect it cycles through punctuation marks like this " - \ | / - \ | / ... " (try it to see). By default the character is drawn in inverse video (or your terminal's equivalent). But you can turn this off with the -i switch. In spinner mode Spinner supports any terminal capable of handling VT100 style escape codes. In null mode (-n switch) Spinner supports any terminal. In null mode there is no visible output, and Spinner will not interfere with your terminal or scrollback. If you find the little spinner in the top left corner to be distracting use null mode. (-n switch).

Spinner is useful for keeping telnet and ssh links from dropping due to inactivity. Many firewalls, and some ISPs drop connections when they are perceived as idle. By having spinner running the server is constantly sending a tiny amount of data over the link, preserving the connection. As of version 1.2 Spinner can also be activated with the -n switch so that, instead of displaying a spinner, it simply sends out a periodic null character to the terminal. This achieves the same anti-idle benefit without disturbing your screen. But it lacks the coolness factor of a little spinner in the corner of the terminal...

Thus (for search engines) Spinner is an anti-idle, timeout preventing, background daemon process for unix variants including linux. Spinner is known to compile and work properly under NetBSD 1.5 and 1.6, Mac OS X 10.2, linux 2.2 and 2.4.

Spinner also has a (mainly fun) mode I like to call "Ghost in the Machine" mode. In this mode you can use spinner to write the spinner character to ANY tty, not just your own. This requires adequate permissions, of course. (see below)


Basic summary: (from spinner -h)
Usage:  spinner[-IntTuvl<path>[f<path>|F][p<prio>|P]] [delay]
        -f   <path> Set pid file path (default is ~/
        -F   Do *not* create a pid file
        -I   Do *not* use inverse video for spinner
        -l   <path> Set log file path (for debugging). Off by default.
        -L   Display the license
        -n   Send only null characters. (No visible output.)
        -p   <priority> Specify process priority to use
        -P   Do *not* change process priority (default is to make nice)
        -r   Reset term on quit (Use if you get left in inverse a lot.)
        -R   Reset the term and Quit immediately. (nothing else)
        -t   <tty path> Specify path of TTY to which to write
        -T   Ignore incompatible TERM environment var setting
        -u   Delay is in microseconds instead of seconds
        -v   Verbose mode (lots of output)
Returns: 0 on success, non-zero on failure.
Launches into the background on success.
Use: kill `cat <pidfile>` to stop.



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