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Man Pages

Manual Reference Pages  -  CHATTAHOOCHIE (8)


chattahoochie - KQueue-Based Small Group Chat Server


     Display Locking
     Securing Connections




Chattahoochie is a plain text small group chat server intended for use with 8-bit character sets. On local networks telnet or netcat can be used as clients. By default Chattahoochie accepts a maximum of five connections at any one time. The maximum number of connections may be altered with the -m option. Chattahoochie will drop connections which have been idle for 20 minutes.

All data exchanged between clients and server is sent in the clear and is thus readable by any third party whose equipment it traverses. For use over the internet it is recommended chattahoochie be configured to listen on a loopback interface. Secure shell clients can then be used to connect to the server host. How to do this is described below in the section titled SECURING CONNECTIONS.


Before inputting chat data, a client should lock the display by entering a blank line to prevent the display from scrolling. The display can be unlocked by entering another blank line. Up to 500 incoming messages will be queued for the client while the display is locked.


Create a "chat" user on the server host with the adduser utility. Add a Match directive to the very end of /etc/ssh/sshd_config to run netcat as an intermediary for "chat" logins. It is important to place the Match directive at the end of the file to avoid affecting other logins.
Match User chat
   ForceCommand nc 8000

Restart sshd with

kill -HUP ‘cat /var/run/‘

Check to make sure the daemon has restarted before you logout of your current ssh session! If you make a typo in sshd_config, sshd will fail to restart, silently, and you will no longer be able to connect to the system as any user! To verify sshd has restarted, open another xterm or virtual console and attempt to login as the "chat" user:


Create the file /home/chat/.hushlogin to suppress printing of the last login time and message of the day.


Chattahoochie writes its pid into /var/run/ if it can (ie., it is started as root), and may be stopped with a SIGTERM. A rc.d script is provided and installed in /usr/local/etc/rc.d/. Add the following lines to /etc/rc.conf to start chattahoochie on system boot-up. Replace the items in brackets with values appropriate for your system, and/or add or remove options as suits your system. The available options are described in full at the end of this manual page.

chattahoochie_flags="-u <user> -g <group>"

Once your /etc/rc.conf is configured you may start, stop, or restart chattahoochie, or determine if it is running with the following commands:

/usr/local/etc/rc.d/chattahoochie start
/usr/local/etc/rc.d/chattahoochie stop
/usr/local/etc/rc.d/chattahoochie restart
/usr/local/etc/rc.d/chattahoochie status

If you do not want chattahoochie started on system start, then set


and use the following commands:

/usr/local/etc/rc.d/chattahoochie forcestart
/usr/local/etc/rc.d/chattahoochie forcestop
/usr/local/etc/rc.d/chattahoochie forcerestart
/usr/local/etc/rc.d/chattahoochie forcestatus

If the server encounters an error reading or writing data to or from a client, or runs out of memory, the particular connection which generated the error will be dropped. All other errors will be logged via syslog(3), and may be found in /var/log/messages.

The following arguments are recognized. They are all optional.
-p The -p option specifies the port to listen on. This defaults to 8000 if not specified.
-i By default, chattahoochie accepts connections on all interfaces it can find capable of IPv4 or IPv6. The -i option, when present, overrides this behavior, by limiting chattahoochie to accepting connections from a specified interface only. The option accepts the IP address of the desired interface as an argument. The address must be expressed in the presentation format for either IPv4 or IPv6.
-m The -m option specifies the maximum number of clients which may be connected at any one time. If not specified, this value defaults to 5.
  The -u and the -g options may be used to specify the user and group for the server to change to after it has bound to the listening socket. If not specified, both values default to "nobody". Note that in order for the server to change user the server must be started as root. If not started as root, two error messages will be syslog()ed at start-up, complaining about the inability of the server to change user and group. You can suppress them by providing values to -u and -g to override the default "nobody" with the actual user and group under which the server runs.
-x The -x option, if present, prevents chattahoochie from becoming a daemon. It will then run in the foreground of the terminal where it was started, and may be stopped with signals (ie., Control-C). The server also will not write its pid to /var/run/ when the -x option is used.


.An James Bailie Aq
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