Getting ssh to execute a command in the background on target machine


Question

This is a follow-on question to the How do you use ssh in a shell script? question. If I want to execute a command on the remote machine that runs in the background on that machine, how do I get the ssh command to return? When I try to just include the ampersand (&) at the end of the command it just hangs. The exact form of the command looks like this:

ssh user@target "cd /some/directory; program-to-execute &"

Any ideas? One thing to note is that logins to the the target machine always produce a text banner and I have SSH keys set up so no password is required.

1
277
5/23/2017 12:34:51 PM

Accepted Answer

I had this problem in a program I wrote a year ago -- turns out the answer is rather complicated. You'll need to use nohup as well as output redirection, as explained in the wikipedia artcle on nohup, copied here for your convenience.

Nohuping backgrounded jobs is for example useful when logged in via SSH, since backgrounded jobs can cause the shell to hang on logout due to a race condition [2]. This problem can also be overcome by redirecting all three I/O streams:

nohup myprogram > foo.out 2> foo.err < /dev/null &
287
8/26/2008 11:18:41 PM

This has been the cleanest way to do it for me:-

ssh -n -f user@host "sh -c 'cd /whereever; nohup ./whatever > /dev/null 2>&1 &'"

The only thing running after this is the actual command on the remote machine


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