May 26, 2018

Keep ssh and telnet connections from dropping due to inactivity

Spinner is a small program that displays a little “spinning” ASCII character in the top left corner of your terminal. To make this effect it cycles through punctuation marks like this “ - \ | / - \ | / … “ try it to see. By default the character is drawn in inverse video or your terminal’s equivalent. But you can turn this off with the -i switch. It supports any terminal capable of handling VT100 style escape codes.

Spinner is useful for keeping telnet and ssh links from dropping due to inactivity. Many firewalls, and some ISPs drop connections when they are perceived as idle. By having spinner running the server is constantly sending a tiny amount of data over the link, preserving the connection. Thus for search engines Spinner is an anti-dle, timeout preventing, background daemon process for Unix variants including Linux.

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- Michael L. Hostbaek