Ubuntu – Is it possible to specify a unique name to terminal windows to run the command via python

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I have to run terminal codes via os.system() in Python. Two commands should be run in two terminals separately. Is it possible to specify a unique name/ID to the terminal windows to run each command in its specified terminal window?

Best Answer

  • Each terminal you open gets a uniquely numbered file (a pseudoterminal slave (PTS) device to be exact) in /dev/pts/ with whom it can be recognized and addressed. To get the correspondent filename of a terminal window you can use e.g. tty (see this answer for alternatives; read man pts for more):

    $ tty

    You can use this filename for instance to redirect output to a different terminal window like so:

    $ echo test >/dev/pts/4  # run anywhere
    test                     # printed in terminal window 4

    You can't really run a command in another terminal, simply because it's not the terminal that runs a command, but rather the shell which normally runs in a terminal. You can however emulate the behaviour of a command run in a terminal window with redirections as follows (taken from Linux pseudo-terminals: executing string sent from one terminal in another):

    echo test </dev/pts/4 &>/dev/pts/4

    If you want to display the command you ran as well I recommand writing a function (How do I use $* while omitting certain input variables like $1 and $2 in bash script?), e.g.:

      t=/dev/pts/$1 &&
      echo "${*:2}" >$t &&
      eval "${@:2}" <$t &>$t

    In one line:

    run_in(){ t=/dev/pts/$1&&echo "${*:2}" >$t&&eval "${@:2}" <$t &>$t;}

    Use it like so:

    $ run_in 4 echo test  # run anywhere
    $ echo test           # printed in terminal window 4 (if prompt was already there)
    test                  # printed in terminal window 4

    In this scenario the only unknown are the /dev/pts/? numbers that your Python program shall use. One possible way to get these numbers is to launch your own terminal windows, which will output their 'numbers' in to a file, then you can read it [ref]. Let's assume you are using gnome-terminal, the relevant part of the Python code could be something as follow [ref]:

    import os
    import subprocess
    os.system("gnome-terminal -x bash -c 'tty > /tmp/my-app-tty-1; exec bash'")
    my_terminal_1 = subprocess.Popen(["cat", "/tmp/my-app-tty-1"], stdout=subprocess.PIPE).communicate()[0]
    command = "echo Test on: $(date) >" + my_terminal_1
    print my_terminal_1
    print command

    If it is a Perl script [ref]

    os.system("gnome-terminal -x bash -c 'tty > /tmp/my-app-tty-1; exec bash'");
    my $my_terminal_1 = `cat /tmp/my-app-tty-1`;
    my $command = "echo Test on: \$\(date\) > $my_terminal_1";
    print ("$my_terminal_1");
    print ("$command");
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