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Old 05-08-2008, 07:11 PM   #1
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Getting asynchronous user input in BASH


I have a BASH script running and would like to stop, without using Ctrl-C (this shuts down the entire script, which is not desired). So I need a clean exit from a running function. The bash built-in 'read' only accepts user input when prompted, and has a minimum of 1 second wait. It is not as 'clean' as I'd like ...(just hold down a key until the function execution catches up to the read ).

So here is what I would like: if the user presses a key at ANY time while a particular function is running, this key stroke would be caught and 'remembered'. The function would periodically check a variable or external event inside this loop, then do a clean exit from the function.

Any key should work, but a specific escape sequence like Ctrl-<something> would be fine.

Thanks in advance.

sed s|jake|Superjake|g
Old 05-08-2008, 07:22 PM   #2
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Depending on how the logic of your program handles the asynchronous input you might be able to do what you want with the trap command.

Another approach would be to make the asynchronous read a separate thread which signals the main thread when input has been received.

Steve Stites


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