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Man Pages

Manual Reference Pages  -  GENSIG (1)


gensig - Generate signatures with random taglines on a FIFO.


Who To Blame


gensig [options] file ...

gensig -h|--help


gensig generates random signatures, each with a random tagline, and writes them out over a FIFO, located by default as ~/.signature . Any program (such as a mail or news client) that would normally open, read to EOF, and close, a signature file located there will get a different signature each time.

When started, gensig normally backgrounds itself to service the signature FIFO. A lock/pid file, created right next to the FIFO itself, is used to keep track of the running gensig process. If another gensig is found to be running, gensig complains and exits. When gensig is killed (by another gensig, or with the TERM or INT signals), it cleans up the lock/pid file, and (by defult) replaces the FIFO with a regular file so that programs that rely on the existence of your .signature can still function. To kill a running gensig using a non-default FIFO, use the same -s fifoname parameter that was used to start up gensig.

The format of the signature file is read from ~/.signature.tmpl (by default). This should be a few lines of text, somewhere including a %s (a la printf), specifying where a random tagline is to be inserted.

Taglines are read from the files (or directories) specified on the command-line. If none are specified, or if the -a/--add switch is used, the search continues to an environment variable called TAGLINES. If it exists, it is interpreted as a colon-separated list of files (or directories) to read for taglines. If the environment variable TAGLINES doesn’t exist, then the next place to check is ~/.taglines (file or directory). If that doesn’t exist, then there should be a taglines file installed from the gensig distribution at /usr/local/share/gensig/taglines.


-a|--add Adds specified files to the taglines sources. Otherwise, specified files replace the default tagfiles sources.

  Display debug information (be verbose).

  Don’t leave behind a regular file when killed.

  Display syntax & options. Does nothing else.

  Kill a running gensig process, if one is found. Does nothing else.

-m|--format filename
  Specify the signature-format file.

  Print a random signature to STDOUT. Does nothing else.

  Don’t complain (just exit) if another gensig is found to be running.

  Kill a running gensig (if found) before starting.

-s|--sigfile filename
  Specify the name of the signature file (FIFO) to use.

  Display version information. Does nothing else.


Each line of text in a file of taglines is considered a tagline. Multiple-line taglines can be created by using a CR (’\r’ in C) in the middle of the line. The CR character will be replaced by a LF character (’0 in C) by gensig.


Bugs? We don’t need to steenking bugs! (But we’ve probably got some anyway...)


gensig was originally written by Andrew Arensburger for SunOS 4, using the Berkely DB library. The entire package has been rewritten from scratch by Rob Fugina (, though the original concept remains the same.

Search for    or go to Top of page |  Section 1 |  Main Index GENSIG (1) gensig version 2.3

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