nightd user's guide

The nightd daemon is a easily-customized daemon which performs a defined set of tasks on a nightly basis. The program behavior is defined by the resource file, loaded at the start of execution. The program can have any name, and loads the resource file with the name ~/.programrc; ie, the implementation used by elixir to control the night elixir real-time systems is called 'ert' and it loads the file ~/.ertrc.

 HOME      /h/skyprobe
 LOG_FILE  $HOME/sp_daemon.log
 INIT_COMMAND sp_command cool $CCD_TEMP
 INIT_COMMAND sp_command init $DATA_PATH/&DATE
 MAIN_COMMAND sp_command expose $EXPTIME $DATA_PATH/&DATE/sp_&DATE_&TIME.fits
 DONE_COMMAND sp_command warm
 NIGHT_STOP  06:00

Above is shown a typical nightd configuration script. The nightd configuration defines commands and execution time scales. The start and end times of the night are defined by the entries NIGHT_START and NIGHT_STOP. The nightd configuration script defines three classes of commands: INIT, MAIN, DONE. The INIT commands are executed in the order listed in the configuration script at the start of the night, while the DONE commands are executed at the end of the night. The MAIN commands are executed on a regular basis from START to STOP using the interval defined by PERIOD (seconds). The program monitors these processes and checks for completion within the TIMEOUT period; otherwise, the command is sent the kill signal.

The entries PID_FILE and LOG_FILE are required entries. The PID_FILE stores the process id, user and machine for the given nightd implementation, and prevents multiple intances of the same process. The LOG_FILE is used for all error messages. The other entries in the configuration script define variables to be use elsewhere in the script. There are a few special variables: \&DATE, \&TIME, ???, which are expanded by nightd before the execution.

The nightd program takes several possible arguments on the command line:

 nightd start
 nightd stop
 nightd status
 nightd config

The 'start' command starts up the nightd program. Currently, nightd does not fork itself into the background, so it is necessary to place it in the background manually (nightd start &). It is not necessary to redirect the output; nightd will send all data to LOG_FILE if it can be opened and written to. On start, nightd will check for the existence of the PID_FILE and give an error to stdout (not LOG_FILE) if it exists; only one implementation may run at a time. Currently, nightd does not check for the existence of the process identified in the PID_FILE. It is necessary for the user to confirm that such a process exists on the named machine.

The 'stop' command halts execution of the given nightd program. It uses the information in the PID_FILE to remotely log onto the machine where the process is being executed and send the STOP signal. Nightd will give an error if there is no PID_FILE, implying no currently running nightd. It is necessary to have rsh access between machines for this to work.

The status command shows the pid information for the currently running nightd, or says that it is not running.