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How to Talk to a Long-Running Process - Bob Smith


Bob Smith was the lead author and coder for the No Starch book "Linux Appliance Design". The book uses RTA to build its sample appliance. Bob was one of the founders of Venturi Wireless where he built a precursor to the RTA library. Bob's hobby web site is at http://www.linuxtoys.org


The days of managing Unix services by editing a configuration file and doing a 'kill -1' on a long running process are gone. Today's Linux servers must simultaneously offer near real-time access to status, statistics, and configuration updates for web, command line, and SNMP user interfaces.

Run Time Access (RTA) is a lightweight library that provides an intuitive interface that lets you view and edit data in a running process. RTA works by making some of the process' data structures visible externally as if they were tables in a PostgreSQL database.

Since RTA "speaks" the PostgreSQL client protocol, a program using RTA can immediately talk to user-interface or management clients written in C/C++, PHP, Java, Python, Perl, and Tcl.

Many developers use arrays or linked-lists of data structures internally so the mapping from a structure definition to a table row definition is intuitive and easy.

More information on RTA is in the article at http://linuxfocus.org/English/May2004/article338.shtml, and at the project's homepage: http://www.linuxappliancedesign.com/projects/rta/index.html