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July 1, 2010

2

How-To: Run a LaunchDaemon That Requires Networking

I’m a big fan of using launchd to automate things in Mac OS X. That serves me well, as that’s how Apple wants things done moving forward. That said, one of launchd’s biggest shortcomings is a lack of a dependency system. There is currently no way, for instance, to specify in a LaunchDaemon’s property list that the daemon requires the network to be active in order to run. This is problematic for some things, such as a script I wrote to automatically set the computer’s hostname based on the DNS server (more on that later). Luckily, Apple has already defined a function, CheckForNetwork, in /private/etc/rc.common. Here it is in all its glory:

##
# Determine if the network is up by looking for any non-loopback
# internet network interfaces.
##
CheckForNetwork()
{
	local test

	if [ -z "${NETWORKUP:=}" ]; then
		test=$(ifconfig -a inet 2>/dev/null | sed -n -e '/127.0.0.1/d' -e '/0.0.0.0/d' -e '/inet/p' | wc -l)
		if [ "${test}" -gt 0 ]; then
			NETWORKUP="-YES-"
		else
			NETWORKUP="-NO-"
		fi
	fi
}

In your code, simply include rc.common, then call CheckForNetwork as needed. An example:

#!/bin/bash

# Example Daemon Starter
. /etc/rc.common

CheckForNetwork

while [ "${NETWORKUP}" != "-YES-" ]
do
        sleep 5
        NETWORKUP=
        CheckForNetwork
done

# Now do what you need to do.

Note that this will keep the script running indefinitely until CheckForNetwork sets NETWORKUP to “-YES-,” so if there’s a networking problem your code may never execute.

2 Comments
  1. Dec 22 2010

    Great post! I was able to create my own LaunchDaemon that wakes my NAS whenever I boot up my Mac thanks to your shell script.

    Cheers,
    Jan

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