...making Linux just a little more fun!
(?) The Answer Gang (!)
By Jim Dennis, Ben Okopnik, Dan Wilder, Breen, Chris, and... (meet the Gang) ... the Editors of Linux Gazette... and You!

We have guidelines for asking and answering questions. Linux questions only, please.
We make no guarantees about answers, but you can be anonymous on request.
See also: The Answer Gang's Knowledge Base and the LG Search Engine

(?) Dedicated Linux application

From Jon Aldrich

Answered By: Thomas Adam, Kapil Hari Paranjape, Jay R. Ashworth

I am in the process of developing a linux app (for gaming). I want the final product to reside on a linux box that, after booting, automatically runs the application. What is the preferred method for doing this?

1) An 'auto login' for a special user on one of the system consoles, who's user profile starts the application.

(!) [Thomas] You could add something like this to the user's ~/.bashrc
[ "$(tac ~/.xsession | sed -n '2p')" = "the_name_of_my_game" ] && {
   startx &
(!) [Thomas] which says that if the penultimate line starts with your game program name then launch X, otherwise don't bother. Why the penultimate line? Because the last line in ~/.xsession should ALWAYS an "exec call" to your window manager. Of course, should you add anything to that file, the number passed to sed will have to be changed.

(?) 2) Start the app with an inittab entry.

(!) [Thomas] No. Doing this is deprecated and will cause all kinds of weird errors. What happens say, if X crashes? Each time X tries to start (based on the run-level X starts in) the game will also try to load, and so you get a feedback loop. In the case of Debian, X is started throughout runlevels 2-5.

(?) 3) Something else?

The app will produce graphics output and get user input, so it can't run as just a background type daemon. It will run on a secure, dedicated network

Is there an info source or HOWTO for this sort of "bringing to market, implementation" kind of topic?

(!) [Thomas] I would just have it launched from within the user's ~/.xsession file (see above).
(!) [Kapil] One of the lesser known methods. An "@reboot" entry in the crontab. This will start a program just after "crond" is started.
(!) [Thomas] Not unless you have read: 'man 5 crontab', it isn't!!

(?) One other small question. Is it possible to display a flash screen of some sort during the boot sequence and pipe the boot data to the bit bucket? Sort of a "boot -quiet" option.

(!) [Kapil] I think there is a "bootsplash" patch to the kernel that does this.
(!) [Thomas] I think Jon was referring specifically to his game's flashscreen.
(!) [Jay] You'll get lots of opinions, I suspect, but mine is 'put it in inittab'. That and (optionally) an sshd should be about it: you should know everything that's running in a ps, in this kind of environment.
Make sure the bios boots the HD (/flash image) and nothing else, and is passworded. Yes, even if there isn't a hardware keyboard.

This page edited and maintained by the Editors of Linux Gazette
Copyright © its authors, 2004
Published in issue 101 of Linux Gazette April 2004
HTML script maintained by Heather Stern of Starshine Technical Services,

[ Table Of Contents ][ Answer Guy Current Index ] greetings   Meet the Gang   1   2   3   4   5   6   7 [ Index of Past Answers ]