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I want that when certain users login they will have a menu instead of accessing the shell with some options that i will configure. I've seen somewhere a perl script (using ncurses i think) that did this but i didn't saved the link and now i can't seem to find it anymore. Anybody aware of anything like this available?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

You can have their shell execute a perl (or any kind of) script upon login by putting it in their ~/.bashrc file. (make sure to put a & at the end of the command if you want the rest of the logon script to finish executing)

What kind of a menu are you wanting to create?

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Just some simple stuff like a menu with: start/stop/restart service X. After a little Google i think I'll write a little bash script to do that using dialog and then replace their shell with this script as they don't need shell access, this menu will be enough. – daniels Jul 3 '09 at 21:48
Even better - if you do it that way, when they exit the script (or even ctrl-c) they will be logged out. – Brent Jul 3 '09 at 21:53
Just something to look out for. A lot of apps requires a valid shell in order for the "system" or "exec" command to work in spawning off a start/stop request. So, making the perl script the users "shell" may not work like you think. – pulcher Jul 3 '09 at 21:55
better if it's .bash_profile, which gets run at login. .bashrc happens for every shell and anything interactive can cause problems – freiheit Jul 4 '09 at 1:29

If you want something curses based, check out the linux dialog command ( You can achieve menu-like functionality using this with little development on your part. It's also pretty much self-contained. As far as I can tell, you only need the dialog binary file, so you don't have to load a bunch of extra software on your machine if you don't want to. Most of the time, I simply write a shell script using the echo command to print out a menu, the read command to read a choice by the user, and a case statement to process the choice and run the task associated with it. Then I call this menu script from the startup file (.profile or .login depending on which shell is used). This isn't fool-proof, but it is quick and dirty.

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