Detach proc from shell


When you exit your shell, the processes you’ve kicked off die.


If you start a process with nohop (ignore the hup signal), it will not exit (usually) when your shell is exited. nohup stands for no hang up, a throw back to terminal lines.


nohup command > /tmp/logfile.log 2>&1&

If you forget to run the command with nohup, this can now be simulated on solaris.

Just background the process (with ctrl Z and bg) then type disown.

disown [%1]

The UNIX command jobs will show all backgrounded jobs. After running disown, it should show no jobs in the background.


[tags]nohup, disown, daemons, Unix Coding School[/tags]

Binary Calculator Hex


You want to perform some arithmetic with UNIX.


The binary calculator, installed with pretty much all version of UNIX, can be used for an array of tasks.

Not just basic calculations, but also converting between bases and it can automated, etc.


It's simpliest use, it just to run bc and add, subtract divide.


Be aware though, that to perform precision point calculations, you must specify the "-l" long option. For example:


Obviously wrong! 🙂 Now with the long option:

bc -l

Can also be automated like this, to convert between decimal and hex:

i=0; while ((i < 20)) ; do echo -n ' $i: '; echo 'base=10;obase=16;$i' | bc; ((i++)); done | paste - - - -
0: 0 1: 1 2: 2 3: 3
4: 4 5: 5 6: 6 7: 7
8: 8 9: 9 10: A 11: B
12: C 13: D 14: E 15: F
16: 10 17: 11 18: 12 19: 13


[tags]BC, HEX, Unix Coding School[/tags]

VI Tips


Started using vi probably 13 years ago and ever so often, still learn new tricks with it! 🙂

Some of my favorites are: turning on control characters; mapping function keys; performing global search and replace; remapping columns.


So to the basics, editing a file:

vi filename


Editing a file from a specific line number or pattern:

vi +lineno filename
vi +/patt/ filename

To turn on control characters, once in vi – do the following (exactly)

:set list

To turn it off again:

:set nolist

Global replace:


Map function keys:

:map #1 :w![ctrl v ctrl m]

that is type colon,map,#,1,space,colon,w,!,^M then hit enter. More on this later.

Remap columns:

:%s/(col1patt) (col2patt)/2 1/

To finish here is a cool but slightly bizarre one:


It reverses the lines of file. Effectively it says – global (all lines) with this pattern (a beginning line – so all lines), move to 0 – which is shorthand for the current line. So as vi applies the command to each line, it bubbles up to the top.


[tags]vim, regular expression, Unix Coding School[/tags]

AJAX Gotcha Browser caching


Spent many hours debug my code on

I kept wondering why, whenever I updated the code – it did not get reflect through.


Eventually but printing the date within the sub request, I found the browser was caching the sub request!

The fix was very easy, to force a header under apache – turning off caching.


Header set cache-control "no-cache"
Header set Pragma "no-cache"
Header set Expires "-1"



AJAX And Javascript Functions Gotcha


Spent many further hours debug my code on

None of my javascript functions worked, in the resulting sub-request. Tried all sorts, even setting up an AJAX call, within the sub-request. Nothing worked.


Eventually through masses of trial and error, “discovered” I had to define the javascript function, with the main body of the code.

In other words, within the subrequest made through AJAX you can have javascript triggers (onclick, onsubmit, onchange …) – but have them call functions previous define in your original web page.


------------------- demo.htm ------------------

function reset_cty() { .... }
var url="page_with_call_reset_cty.htm""GET",url, true)

----------- page_with_call_reset_cty.htm --------
... onclick = ... reset_cty ...




AWK Find field number


Ever needed to print out one column with awk, but do not know the field number?


Here I’m running df and looking for a field with “Used” in it:

df -k | head -1 | awk ' {      for(i=1; i< NF;i++) {         if($i ~ /Used/) {             print "# field "i         }      }} '

So stop counting columns and just use the code! 🙂


Now for a real life demo. 😉

[marcus@bree marcus]$ df -k | head -1
Filesystem 1K-blocks Used Available Use% Mounted on
[marcus@bree marcus]$ df -k | awk ' {
for(i=1;i < NF;i++) {
if($i ~ /Used/) { print "# field "i }
} '
# field 3


[tags], Unix Coding School[/tags]

AWK Print line number


Ever wanted to display a line number, with each matching record from awk. Useful as a way of counting the number of matching lines too.


Here’s how with a demo which grabs network stats (netstat) off my linux box. It looks for connections to port 80 and in TIME_WAIT state – prints a line number and the matching line.


[marcus@bree marcus]$ netstat -an -t | awk ' /:80 / && /TIME_WAIT/ { print ++i,$0} '
0 tcp 0 0 x.x.x.x:80 x.x.x.x:44154 TIME_WAIT

If you wanted the line number, that matches your pattern – this would show that too:

[marcus@bree marcus]$ netstat -an -t | awk ' /:80 / && /TIME_WAIT/ { print "line:"NR,"count:"++i,$0} '
line:17 count:1 tcp 0 0 x.x.x.x:4298 x.x.x.x:80 TIME_WAIT


[tags]gawk, netstat, print line numbers, Unix Coding School[/tags]

Send HTML email from command line


Need to send an email from UNIX command line, that contains HTML content?


Most useful when generating statistics, etc – just spin round and spit out HTML table rows, through sendmail.


Here is the code:

/usr/lib/sendmail -t
Subject:This is a test
Content-Type: multipart/mixed; boundary="gc0y0pkb9ex"

Content-type: text/html;charset="iso-8859-1"

<html><head><title>Test HTML mail</title></head>
<table border=1>
<tr><td align=center>test mail</td></tr>
<tr><td>This is an HTML email sent from UNIX command line!</td></tr>

Debugging shell scripts


You need to debug a shell script.


Most shells (zsh, ksh, bash …) can either run with a minus x (-x) option or by specifying set -x.

If you have an existing shell, that you’d like to run in debug mode – just run it like this: bash -x scriptname. Or ksh -x for korn shell.


You can also edit the follow and put a minus x after the interpreter line, for example:

#!/bin/ksh -x


#!/bin/bash -x

Debugging on the command line can be performed, simply by typing set -x. Like this:

$ set -x
+ set -x
$ date
+ date
Tue Jun 13 18:59:44 WST 2006
$ echo "hello world"
+ echo 'hello world'
hello world
$ set +x
+ set +x
$ date
Tue Jun 13 18:59:57 WST 2006


[tags]Debug Shell Scripts, Unix Coding School[/tags]

Procs started by cron


Sometimes you want to list all processes that have been initiated by cron.


To do this you first need to know the Process ID (PID) of the cron process, then to list all children of that process.

Luckily Solaris has ptree and pgrep, so it is simple.


ptree `pgrep cron`

Looks like Linux also has pgrep and pstree:

pstree -p `pgrep cron`


[tags]Process commands, Unix Coding School[/tags]