SUMMARY: rdist's special command

From: David W. Blaine (
Date: Thu Apr 15 1999 - 13:16:29 CDT

Hi Sun-managers:

Although I got many responses (most of which stated trying this syntax ${area} -
which I already tried to no avail), special thanks goes to:

Gary Franczyk
Jim Earnest

for pointing me in the right direction. I did the following in my script:


rsh $target "echo area=$area > /tmp/area"
rdist -d target=root@$target -d file=$file -d area=$area -f distfile

In this way, I could source /tmp/area as part of the special command. Here is
the resulting distfile:

HOSTS = ( ${target} )

FILES = ( ${file} )

(${FILES}) -> (${HOSTS})
        install /jumpstart/${area}/Config/etc/rc3.d/${file} ;
        special ". /tmp/area; /jumpstart/ $area; rm /tmp/ar
ea" ;
        notify ;


May want to try the special command as follows,

special "/jumpstart/ $"{area}" ;

Otherwise you can have your wrapper script write the area variable to a file
in /tmp and
then use rdist to distribute this file over to the remote system and then
modify /jumpstart/ to read $area from the file in
Or something along these lines..

Hope this helps

Jim Earnest


How about this... The environment that rdist has is the same as you would
have in an "rsh" command... Therefore, if you have your script add this line
to your /.cshrc file:

setenv AREA "this is the area"

and then rdist'ed the /.cshrc file BEFORE you rdist'ed the other file(s),
the environment variable $AREA would be set when the special command was

(This may be a rube-goldberg machine, but it should work)

* gary franczyk
* systems administrator / dba
* 512.435.3286


My original question follows. Thanks again

David Blaine (
Computer Systems Engineer
Phone: 810-825-7650

------------- Begin Forwarded Message -------------

Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 08:42:20 -0400 (EDT)
From: "David W. Blaine" <>
Subject: rdist's special command
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-MD5: Sjl7hLWzjyt7Em0HrbTnMg==

Hi Sun-managers

I am trying to setup a centralized management server for several jumpstart
servers I administer. To do this, I centralized some of my key configuration
files and use rdist to update the servers. However, I have a need to run a
command after the update via rdist's special command with a parameter. I have a
script which asks me for a variable called "area" defined then called rdist with
the following:

rdist -d target=root@$target -d file=$file -d area=$area -f distfile

in the distfile, I want to use it like this:

HOSTS = ( ${target} )

FILES = ( ${file} )

(${FILES}) -> (${HOSTS})
        install /jumpstart/${area}/Config/etc/rc3.d/${file} ;
        special "/jumpstart/ $area" ;
        notify ;

The install command properly substitutes the "area" variable and installs the
file as expected, but the special command does not. Any ideas? Or is this a
limitation of rdist?

David Blaine (
Computer Systems Engineer
Phone: 810-825-7650

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