Terminal software switch

Robert G. Brown rgb at phy.duke.edu
Mon Oct 2 10:31:16 PDT 2000

On Mon, 2 Oct 2000, Beowulf mailing list for PC clusters wrote:

> Hello, I got a Linux Pc farm of 80 PCs.
> Using the hardware switch is really uncomfortable so I decided to search
> for a proper software but I cannot find it anywhere.
> I need a software which can allow me to open multiple windows on one
> terminal like the screen GNU software does but I am not interested in
> having a shell spawned. I am interested that every new window opened on my
> console terminal spawns a ssh or telnet process to one machine of my Linux
> cluster and i want t oswitch between one connactoin to another.
> Does a software like this exist already in the Beowulf software ??
> I Tryed to search for something like this but I did not find anything.
> Could someone give me some hint about if such a thing exists within the
> Beowulf project??
> thank you a lot.

I'm not exactly sure what you are looking for here; it's either
something really trivial or something extremely complex.

One can invoke an e.g. xterm with a shell command.  That shell command
can be (e.g.) ssh b1 or ssh b2...  Alternatively, one can ssh b1 xterm,
ssh b2 xterm...

One can contruct an icon or GUI to spawn the xterms (by name) a variety
of ways depending on your windowing system and pack them into a taskbar.
Doing this by hand would be very tedious, but if you learn to edit stuff
in e.g. .gnome/* by hand you can probably autogenerate a gnome-style

Just one of many ways to create a more portable and general solution is
to write a C application or perl-Gtk script with e.g.  glade with 80
buttons (1-80) which exec xterms when pressed.  If you go this route you
can choose to run the xterms locally (and execute ssh bX in the xterm)
or ssh bX xterm (remotely execute the xterm on the bX host).  Obviously
you can choose to use ssh (good) or telnet (bad) to communicate with the

There are some nice things about such an applet -- you could easily
enough make the hosts checkbuttons instead of icons and construct an
entry box for a string to be ssh'd on all the hosts.  To execute a whole
stack of xterms, you select the hosts via checkbutton or menu item
(select all/clear all), put "xterm" with your favorite geometry into the
entry box, and click a "run" button.  I've been meaning to write such an
beowulf applet panel for years but somehow have never had time.  I've
been playing with glade, though -- maybe it is finally time for me to
finish it.


Robert G. Brown	                       http://www.phy.duke.edu/~rgb/
Duke University Dept. of Physics, Box 90305
Durham, N.C. 27708-0305
Phone: 1-919-660-2567  Fax: 919-660-2525     email:rgb at phy.duke.edu

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