One of ayrton's features is the remote execution of code and programs via ssh. For this I initially used paramiko, which is a complete reimplementation of the ssh protocol in pure Python. It manages to connect, authenticate and create channels and port forwardings with any recent ssh server, and is quite easy:

import paramiko

c= paramiko.SSHClient ()
c.connect (...)

# get_pty=True so we emulate a tty and programs like vi and mc work
i, o, e= c.execute_command (command, get_pty=True)

So far so good, but the interface is those 3 objects, i, o and e, that represent the remote command's stdin, stdout and stderr. If one wants to fully implement a client, one needs to copy everything from the local process' standard streams to those.

For this, the most brute force approach is to create a thread for each pair of streams[1]:

class CopyThread (Thread):
    def __init__ (self, src, dst):
        super ().__init__ ()
        self.src= src
        self.dst= dst

    def run (self):
        while True:
            data= self.src.read (1024)
            if len (data)==0:
                break
            else:
                self.dst.write (data)

        self.close ()

    def close (self):
        self.src.close ()
        self.dst.close ()

This for some reason does not work out of the bat. When I implemented it in ayrton, what I got was that I didn't get anything from stdout or stderr until the remote code was finished. I tiptoed a little around the problem, but at the end I took cue from one of paramiko's examples and implemented a single copy loop with select():

class InteractiveThread (Thread):
    def __init__ (self, pairs):
        super ().__init__ ()
        self.pairs= pairs
        self.copy_to= dict (pairs)
        self.finished= os.pipe ()

    def run (self):
        while True:
            wait_for= list (self.copy_to.keys ())
            wait_for.append (self.finished[0])
            r, w, e= select (wait_for, [], [])

            if self.finished[0] in r:
                self.self.finished[0].close ()
                break

            for i in r:
                o= self.copy_to[i]
                data= i.read (1024)
                if len (data)==0:
                    # do not try to read any more from this file
                    del self.copy_to[i]
                else:
                    o.write (data)

        self.close ()


    def close (self):
        for k, v in self.pairs:
            for f in (k, v):
                 f.close ()

        self.finished[1].close ()


t= InteractiveThread (( (0, i), (o, 1), (e, 2) ))
t.start ()
[...]
t.close ()

The extra pipe, finished, is there to make sure we don't wait forever for stdin to finish.

This completely solves the problem of handling the streams, but that's not the only problem. The next step is to handle the fact that when we do some input via stdin, we see it twice. This is because both the local and the remote terminals are echoing what we type, so we just need to disable the local echoing. In fact, ssh does quite more than that:

class InteractiveThread (Thread):
    def __init__ (self, pairs):
        super ().__init__ ()

        [...]

        self.orig_terminfo= tcgetattr (pairs[0][0])
        # input, output, control, local, speeds, special chars
        iflag, oflag, cflag, lflag, ispeed, ospeed, cc= self.orig_terminfo

        # turn on:
        # Ignore framing errors and parity errors
        iflag|= IGNPAR
        # turn off:
        # Strip off eighth bit
        # Translate NL to CR on input
        # Ignore carriage return on input
        # XON/XOFF flow control on output
        # (XSI) Typing any character will restart stopped output. NOTE: not needed?
        # XON/XOFF flow control on input
        iflag&= ~( ISTRIP | INLCR | IGNCR | ICRNL | IXON | IXANY | IXOFF )

        # turn off:
        # When any of the characters INTR, QUIT, SUSP, or DSUSP are received, generate the corresponding signal
        # canonical mode
        # Echo input characters (finally)
        # NOTE: why these three? they only work with ICANON and we're disabling it
        # If ICANON is also set, the ERASE character erases the preceding input character, and WERASE erases the preceding word
        # If ICANON is also set, the KILL character erases the current line
        # If ICANON is also set, echo the NL character even if ECHO is not set
        # implementation-defined input processing
        lflag&= ~( ISIG | ICANON | ECHO | ECHOE | ECHOK | ECHONL | IEXTEN )

        # turn off:
        # implementation-defined output processing
        oflag&= ~OPOST

        # NOTE: whatever
        # Minimum number of characters for noncanonical read
        cc[VMIN]= 1
        # Timeout in deciseconds for noncanonical read
        cc[VTIME]= 0

        tcsetattr(self.pairs[0][0], TCSADRAIN, [ iflag, oflag, cflag, lflag,
                                                 ispeed, ospeed, cc ])


    def close (self):
        # reset term settings
        tcsetattr (self.pairs[0][0], TCSADRAIN, self.orig_terminfo)

        [...]

I won't pretend I understand all of that. Checking the file's history, I'm tempted to bet that neither the openssh developers do. I would even bet that it was taken from a telnet or rsh implementation or something. This is the kind of things I meant when I wrote my previous post about implementing these complex pieces of software as a library with a public API and a shallow frontend in the form of a program. At least the guys from openssh say that they're going in that direction. That's wonderful news.

Almost there. The last stone in the way is the terminal emulation. As is, SSHClient.execute_command() tells the other end that we're running in a 80x25 VT100 terminal. Unluckily the API does not allow us to set it by ourselves, but SSHClient.execute_command() is a very simple method that we can rewrite:

channel= c.get_transport ().open_session ()
term= shutil.get_terminal_size ()
channel.get_pty (os.environ['TERM'], term.columns, term.lines)

Reacting to SIGWINCH and changing the terminal's size is left as an exercise for the reader :)


[1] In fact this might seem slightly wasteful, as data has to be read into user space and then pushed down back to the kernel. The problem is that os.sendfile() only works if src is a kernel object that supports mmap(), which sockets don't, and even when splice() is available in a 3dr party module, one of the parameters must be a pipe. There is at least one huge thread spread over 4 or 5 kernel mailing lists discussing widening the applicability of splice(), but to be honest, I hadn't finished reading it.


python ayrton