Re: [dev] [dmenu] [patch] Display a multi-line text message before (or instead of) the prompt (was: xmessage replacement similar to dmenu)

From: Moritz Wilhelmy <>
Date: Wed, 24 Nov 2010 20:51:30 +0100

Excerpts from Ciprian Dorin, Craciun's message of Wed Nov 24 20:36:20 +0100 2010:
> On Wed, Nov 24, 2010 at 21:22, Moritz Wilhelmy <> wrote:
> > Hi,
> >
> > If I see that correctly your dmenu can be either in "display message" or "menu"
> > mode.
> Um. Not quite. As I've changed it, now it has a "classical-menu"
> mode (just how it worked until now) and an
> "explanatory-message-accompanied-menu" mode, in which the user also
> has the ability to see an explanation (multi-lined) of what the menu
> or choice is about.

Okay, it makes a little more sense now.
> For example you could use it (And I actually intend to do this) to
> implement an `sshpasswd` program that is used by the `ssh` client or
> `ssh-agent` to interact with the user (assuming you use `ssh` from a
> script and it can't directly interact with the user on tty). Thus if
> I'm connecting to a server that doesn't have the key fingerprint
> cached, it is going to ask me if it's ok (and the multi-line message
> is the standard message written by `ssh`, but passed to the
> `sshpasswd` tool), or if I'm using a key which needs confirmation it
> should display me which ssh instance (pid, uid, gid, arguments, etc.)
> is the one that wants to use the key. (This is not done by `ssh-agent`
> but I can obtain this info by using `lsof` and the `ppid` of that
> process.)

I simply put the followind three lines in my .xinitrc to pass my ssh-passphrase
to ssh-agent:

keychain --quiet --nogui
[ -f ~/.keychain/$HOSTNAME-sh ] && . ~/.keychain/$HOSTNAME-sh
ssh-add -l >/dev/null 2>&1 || urxvt -e ssh-add &

> Thus I will use `dmenu` from an `sshpasswd` compatible Bash script
> just to interact with the user. I hope this clears my reasons, and why
> dmenu is still used as a menu, but with a (mandatory needed)
> elaborated message given to the user.

This sounds rather cumbersome to me.

> > I think you should rather split them into two single programs, one for
> > displaying messages and the other one for being a menu.
> > UNIX teaches us to do one thing well instead of clogging everything into a
> > single binary. However, this is just my personal opinion.
> I completely agree with the UNIX KISS philosophy. But as I've
> tried to explain above I'm not fusing two completely unrelated
> behaviors in the same tool.

Well, I still consider dmenu as menu, not as general-purpose-input-bar and
especially not as util to enter sensible data like passwords, but go ahead and
do whatever you like ;)

Best regards,

Received on Wed Nov 24 2010 - 20:51:30 CET

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