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XKIBITZ(1)               USER COMMANDS            06 October 1994


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:

          +   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 right.

          +   By running xkibitz and then starting a  full-screen
              editor,   people  may  carry  out  a  conversation,
              retaining the ability to scroll backwards, save the
              entire  conversation, or even edit it while in pro-

          +   People can team up on games, document  editing,  or
              other  cooperative  tasks  where  each  person  has
              strengths  and  weaknesses  that   complement   one

          +   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 no

     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 display.

     To show the current tags and displays, enter "=".

     To drop a display, enter "- tag" where tag is the  display's
     tag according to the "=" command.

     To return to the shared shell,  enter  "return".   Then  the

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XKIBITZ(1)               USER COMMANDS            06 October 1994

     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.  However,
     in  the  escape dialogue the user talks directly to the xki-
     bitz interpreter.  Any Expect(1) or Tcl(3) commands may also
     be given.  Also, job control may be used while in the inter-
     preter, to, for example, suspend or restart xkibitz.

     Various processes can produce various effects.  For example,
     you  can  emulate a multi-way write(1) session with the com-

          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 char-
     acter is ^].

     -display adds a display much like the "+" command.  Multiple
     -display  flags can be given.  For example, to start up xki-
     bitz with three additional displays:

          xkibitz -display mercury  -display  fox  -display  dra-


Due to limitations in both X and UNIX, resize propagation is

     When the master user resizes the xterm, all the other xterms
     are  logically  resized. Unfortunately, xkibitz cannot force
     the physical xterm size to correspond with the logical xterm

     The other users are free to resize  their  xterm  but  their
     sizes  are not propagated.  The master can check the logical
     sizes with the "=" command.

     Deducing the window size is a non-portable  operation.   The

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XKIBITZ(1)               USER COMMANDS            06 October 1994

     code  is  known  to  work for recent versions of SunOS, AIX,
     Unicos, and HPUX.  Send back mods if  you  add  support  for
     anything else.


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 empty.

     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 cursor:

          XKIBITZ_XTERM_ARGS="-sb -ms green"
          export XKIBITZ_XTERM_ARGS

     (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 xki-


Tcl(3), libexpect(3) kibitz(1)
     "Exploring  Expect:  A  Tcl-Based  Toolkit  for   Automating
     Interactive Programs" by Don Libes, O'Reilly and Associates,
     January 1995.
     "kibitz   -   Connecting   Multiple   Interactive   Programs
     Together",  by  Don Libes, Software - Practice & Experience,
     John Wiley & Sons, West Sussex, England,  Vol.  23,  No.  5,
     May, 1993.


Don Libes, National Institute of Standards and Technology

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