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* TTY management
@ 2019-02-08  0:15 Bart Schaefer
  2019-02-28 14:35 ` Sebastian Gniazdowski
  0 siblings, 1 reply; 2+ messages in thread
From: Bart Schaefer @ 2019-02-08  0:15 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Zsh hackers list

There are now at least three threads about terminal handling when the
shell has connected the output(s) of a process to something other than
a terminal device.  There hasn't been any actual wrong information in
the responses, but that the question keeps getting repeated anyway
indicates to me that it's not being explained fully/clearly enough.

First let's talk about "vim | cat".  Programs that expect to use
capabilities of an interactive terminal nearly always make their own
determination of whether they can do so, but how this is done varies a
lot.  Vim in particular works very hard to find a terminal - it will
look at both stdin and stdout, and if either of those is a terminal it
will try to interact with that (assuming the descriptor is open for
both reading and writing).  This is why there are different results
for "cat | vim > ...".  Other programs work even harder and will try
stderr as well.  Still others have a command-line option or other
control to force them to behave as if connected to a terminal even
when they aren't.  Some others always spew terminal control sequences
without bothering to check.  In no case is this under the control of
the shell; if you have a program that doesn't behave as you want,
there's nothing the shell can do about it.

Regarding isatty() -- as has been explained, this is a system call.
It examines an ioctl that is restricted to terminal devices.  The
shell (or any other process) can't force an arbitrary file descriptor
to claim it is a terminal device, that violates the "special files"
model under which terminal devices exist.  Terminal devices operate
using (what to the OS appear to be) hardware-level drivers to mediate
the bidirectional data flow.  Pseudo-terminals split the master and
slave into two descriptors to be able to emulate this, but therefore
have to be managed differently; no single descriptor can simply be
inherited as stdin/out/err by a forked child as is normally done.  The
"script" command exists specifically to do this for you.

There are actually security-related reasons for this -- think 1980/90s
technology -- you don't want a man-in-the-middle attack capturing a
login exchange from a physical terminal in a computer lab, for
example.  Virtual terminal devices came along later and have to
address this differently.

The upshot of this is that, as PWS said, the core shell is not the
place to handle this.  If someone wants to find open-source of the
"script" command and turn it into a module, though, that might be
worth considering.

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 2+ messages in thread

* Re: TTY management
  2019-02-08  0:15 TTY management Bart Schaefer
@ 2019-02-28 14:35 ` Sebastian Gniazdowski
  0 siblings, 0 replies; 2+ messages in thread
From: Sebastian Gniazdowski @ 2019-02-28 14:35 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Bart Schaefer; +Cc: Zsh hackers list

On Fri, 8 Feb 2019 at 01:16, Bart Schaefer <schaefer@brasslantern.com> wrote:
> First let's talk about "vim | cat".  Programs that expect to use
> capabilities of an interactive terminal nearly always make their own
> determination of whether they can do so, but how this is done varies a
> lot.  Vim in particular works very hard to find a terminal - it will
> look at both stdin and stdout, and if either of those is a terminal it
> will try to interact with that (assuming the descriptor is open for
> both reading and writing).

I think this works differently, and I have proof for this:

% vim | cat > file

doesn't yield a working vim like the `vim | cat' does. This means that
vim doesn't look for a terminal on stderr or /dev/tty, but that
instead it just streams its terminal-codes to the redirected stdout.
If the redirected output is still a terminal, then things work, if not
(e.g. the >file above), then things don't work.

That's why I wanted to just make the isatty() test pass with True.

> Regarding isatty() -- as has been explained, this is a system call.
> It examines an ioctl that is restricted to terminal devices.
(...)
> Terminal devices operate
> using (what to the OS appear to be) hardware-level drivers to mediate
> the bidirectional data flow.

Ahso, pity then this would mean that one cannot simply pretend that a
descriptor is a tty.

> There are actually security-related reasons for this -- think 1980/90s
> technology -- you don't want a man-in-the-middle attack capturing a
> login exchange from a physical terminal in a computer lab, for
> example.  Virtual terminal devices came along later and have to
> address this differently.

Ahso, interesting.

> The upshot of this is that, as PWS said, the core shell is not the
> place to handle this.  If someone wants to find open-source of the
> "script" command and turn it into a module, though, that might be
> worth considering.

What exactly would this module do?

-- 
Sebastian Gniazdowski
News: https://twitter.com/ZdharmaI
IRC: https://kiwiirc.com/client/chat.freenode.net:+6697/#zplugin
Blog: http://zdharma.org

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 2+ messages in thread

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