Index of Section 1 Manual Pages
|Interix / SUA||xkibitz.1||Interix / SUA
xkibitz - allow multiple people to interact in an xterm
xkibitz [ xkibitz-args ] [ program program-args... ]
xkibitz allows users in separate xterms to share one shell
(or any program that runs in an xterm). Uses include:
o A novice user can ask an expert user for help.
Using xkibitz, the expert can see what the user
is doing, and offer advice or show how to do it
o By running xkibitz and then starting a full-
screen editor, people may carry out a conversa-
tion, retaining the ability to scroll back-
wards, save the entire conversation, or even
edit it while in progress.
o People can team up on games, document editing,
or other cooperative tasks where each person
has strengths and weaknesses that complement
o If you want to have a large number of people do
an on-line code walk-through, you can sit two
in front of each workstation, and then connect
them all together while you everyone looks at
code together in the editor.
To start xkibitz, one user (the master) runs xkibitz with
xkibitz starts a new shell (or another program, if given
on the command line). The user can interact normally with
the shell, or upon entering an escape (described when
xkibitz starts) can add users to the interaction.
To add users, enter "+ display" where display is the X
display name. If there is no ":X.Y" in the display name,
":0.0" is assumed. The master user must have permission
to access each display. Each display is assigned a tag -
a small integer which can be used to reference the dis-
To show the current tags and displays, enter "=".
To drop a display, enter "- tag" where tag is the dis-
play's tag according to the "=" command.
To return to the shared shell, enter "return". Then the
keystrokes of all users become the input of the shell.
Similarly, all users receive the output from the shell.
To terminate xkibitz it suffices to terminate the shell
itself. For example, if any user types ^D (and the shell
accepts this to be EOF), the shell terminates followed by
Normally, all characters are passed uninterpreted. How-
ever, in the escape dialogue the user talks directly to
the xkibitz interpreter. Any Expect(1) or Tcl(3) commands
may also be given. Also, job control may be used while in
the interpreter, to, for example, suspend or restart xkib-
Various processes can produce various effects. For exam-
ple, you can emulate a multi-way write(1) session with the
xkibitz sleep 1000000
xkibitz understands a few special arguments which should
appear before the program name (if given). Each argument
should be separated by whitespace. If the arguments them-
selves takes arguments, these should also be separated by
-escape sets the escape character. The default escape
character is ^].
-display adds a display much like the "+" command. Multi-
ple -display flags can be given. For example, to start up
xkibitz with three additional displays:
xkibitz -display mercury -display fox -display
Due to limitations in both X and UNIX, resize propagation
When the master user resizes the xterm, all the other
xterms are logically resized. Unfortunately, xkibitz can-
not force the physical xterm size to correspond with the
logical xterm sizes.
The other users are free to resize their xterm but their
sizes are not propagated. The master can check the logi-
cal sizes with the "=" command.
Deducing the window size is a non-portable operation. The
code is known to work for recent versions of SunOS, AIX,
Unicos, and HPUX. Send back mods if you add support for
The environment variable SHELL is used to determine and
start a shell, if no other program is given on the command
If the environment variable DISPLAY is defined, its value
is used for the display name of the xkibitz master (the
display with tag number 0). Otherwise this name remains
Additional arguments may be passed to new xterms through
the environment variable XKIBITZ_XTERM_ARGS. For example,
to create xterms with a scrollbar and a green pointer cur-
XKIBITZ_XTERM_ARGS="-sb -ms green"
(this is for the Bourne shell - use whatever syntax is
appropriate for your favorite shell). Any option can be
given that is valid for the xterm command, with the excep-
tion of -display, -geometry and -S as those are set by
Tcl(3), libexpect(3) kibitz(1)
"Exploring Expect: A Tcl-Based Toolkit for Automating
Interactive Programs" by Don Libes, O'Reilly and Associ-
ates, January 1995.
"kibitz - Connecting Multiple Interactive Programs
Together", by Don Libes, Software - Practice & Experience,
John Wiley & Sons, West Sussex, England, Vol. 23, No. 5,
Don Libes, National Institute of Standards and Technology
06 October 1994 XKIBITZ(1)