[Beowulf] Users abusing screen

Robert G. Brown rgb at phy.duke.edu
Wed Oct 26 09:22:31 PDT 2011

OK, OK, I haven't participated in this discussion so far -- way too
busy.  But since it keeps on going, and going, and going, and since
nobody has mentioned the obvious and permanent solution, I'm going to
have to bring it up:

>From "man 8 syslogd", which alas seems to no longer exist save in our
hearts and memories, when confronted with any sort of persistent system

5. Use step 4 and if the problem persists and is not secondary to a
    rogue program/daemon get a 3.5 ft (approx. 1 meter) length of
    sucker rod* and have a chat with the user in question.

*  Sucker rod def.  ?  3/4, 7/8 or 1in. hardened steel rod, male
    threaded on each end.  Primary use in the oil industry in West-
    ern North Dakota and other locations to pump 'suck' oil from oil
    wells.  Secondary uses are for the construction of cattle feed
    lots and for dealing with the occasional recalcitrant or bel-
    ligerent individual.

I've found that the "sucker rod solution" is really the only one that
ultimately works.  Even if it is merely present when discussing the
problem with the worst offenders, it marvelously focusses the mind on
the severity of the issue.

Otherwise (as has been pointed out repeatedly) it is rather trivial to
write an e.g. cron script that reaps/kills ANYTHING undesireable on a
public server.  Invariably they will sooner or later kill something that
shouldn't be killed in the sense that it is doing some sort of useful
work, but screen isn't likely to be something in that category.

Myself, I like the sucker rod approach.  BANG down on the desk with it
and say something ominous like "So, you've been cluttering up my server
with unattended and abandoned sessions.  Would you be so kind as to
CEASE (bam) and DESIST (bam) from this antisocial activity?"  Then
mutter something about too much Jolt Cola and back away slowly.

Don't worry too much about the divots you leave in the desk or the
coffee mug that somehow got shattered.  They'll be useful reminders the
next time he or she considers walking way from a multiplexed screen


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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