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I wrote the idlexec utility to be able to temporarily and automatically stop calculation processes that run on our desktop machines, when someone uses a machine. Indeed some machines make a lot of noise when their processor is busy. This utility can take into account the fact that there can be several machines in a room.

It consists of a Perl script that depends only on the POSIX Perl module.


You first need to define an environment variable IDLEXECDIR pointing to a directory which will contain data for idlexec. This directory must be accessible by every machine of the room; it is typically under NFS, except if only one machine is concerned. In this directory, you need to create a file named hosts that contains the machines that are noisy when loaded: one name per line. For each room, you also need to create an empty file (the filename is typically the name of the room), for instance with the command touch, with write access enabled for the group of users who can use the machine (for calculations); in fact, the contents of these files are not important: only their modification date (mtime) will be used.

The command idlexec is used in the following three ways:

Some More Technical Notes