executes commands upon file system events (using inotify)
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What is adhocify?

adhocify uses inotify to watch for file system events. Once an event occurs it can execute a command. The path of the file and the event will be passed to that command.


See adhocify --help.


adhocify -w /tmp/ /home/user/myscript.sh

Watches for IN_CLOSE_WRITE events in /tmp/ and launches script /home/user/myscript.sh

adhocify -w /tmp/ -w /var/run /home/user/myscript.sh

Same as above, but also watches /var/run

adhocify /home/user/myscript.sh

Watches for IN_CLOSE_WRITE events in the current directory, launches script /home/user/myscript.

adhocify -m IN_OPEN -w /tmp /home/user/myscript.sh

Watches for IN_OPEN events in /tmp/, launches script /home/user/myscript.sh

adhocify -w /tmp -i *.txt /home/user/myscript.sh

Watches for IN_CLOSE_WRITE events in /tmp/ but will not pass any events for *.txt files to the script

find . -type d | adhocify -s /home/user/myscript.sh

Starts monitoring every subdirectory of the current path for IN_CLOSE_WRITE events. However, inotify has limits, thus it may not always work, e. g. when inotify descriptors are being used by other programs or the tree is too large. Therefore adhocify will exit if it cannot setup a watch for all supplied directories. See inotify(7), /proc/sys/fs/inotify/.

Child exit codes

adhocify -m IN_CREATE --exit-with-child=0 -- /usr/bin/test -f awaited_file

Keep running until the file named "awaited_file" is created in the current directory.

--exit-with-child also supports negation, so e. g. with --exit-with-child='!0' adhocify would keep running as long as the child commands exits with 0.

Passing event data to the command

adhocify -w /tmp/ -w /var/run /home/user/myscript.sh {}

Passes the full path of the file an event occured on to the specified command. It can be retreived from argv[1] in the called command.

adhocify -w /tmp/ echo the file {} was written to

Running echo "Test" > /tmp/test will print in the shell adhocify was launched in: "the file /tmp/test was written to"

adhocify -m IN_CREATE -m IN_CLOSE_WRITE -w /path -- /bin/env

adhocify passes the inotify event to the command as an environment variable. The variable is called ADHOCIFYEVENT and contains the value of inotify_event->mask as set by inotify.

Receiving events as strings

You can also get a string of the inotify events. This is particularly useful if you have a shellscript and don't want to interpret the ADHOCIFYEVENT variable yourself

echo "test" > /tmp/test
adhocify -m IN_ALL_EVENTS -w /tmp/test echo File: "%eventfilepath%" Event: "%eventmaskstr%"
Starting execution of command echo
File: /tmp/test Event: IN_ATTRIB
Starting execution of command echo
Starting execution of command echo
Starting execution of command echo
File: /tmp/test Event: IN_OPEN
File: /tmp/test Event: IN_CLOSE,IN_CLOSE_WRITE
File: /tmp/test Event: IN_MODIFY

A second shell ran

chmod 600 /tmp/test
echo "test" >> /tmp/test

Passing -q would also keep adhocify silent, surpressing those "Starting execution..." messages.

Other tools

If adhocify does not suit your needs, take a look at:


Debian / Ubuntu

Latest release can be installed using apt

# First, obtain key, assume it's trusted.
wget -O- https://repo.quitesimple.org/repo.quitesimple.org.asc  | gpg --dearmor > repo.quitesimple.org-keyring.gpg
cat repo.quitesimple.org-keyring.gpg | sudo tee -a /usr/share/keyrings/repo.quitesimple.org.gpg > /dev/null

#For Debian
echo "deb [arch=amd64 signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/repo.quitesimple.org.gpg] https://repo.quitesimple.org/debian/ default main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/quitesimple.list

#For Ubuntu >=21.10, prefer these sources
#echo "deb [arch=amd64 signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/repo.quitesimple.org.gpg] https://repo.quitesimple.org/debian/ $(lsb_release -sc) main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/quitesimple.list

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install adhocify


wget https://repo.quitesimple.org/repo%40quitesimple.org-5f3d101.rsa.pub -O /etc/apk/repo@quitesimple.org-5f3d101.rsa.pub
echo "https://repo.quitesimple.org/alpine/quitesimple/" >> /etc/apk/repositories
apk update
apk add adhocify


To install from source, run

make install

which will place adhocify in /usr/local/bin/