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Re: [PATCH] [Ncat] Fix EOF handling
From: David Fifield <david () bamsoftware com>
Date: Sun, 19 Apr 2009 22:37:35 -0600

On Sun, Apr 19, 2009 at 10:56:50PM +0200, Daniel Roethlisberger wrote:
David Fifield <david () bamsoftware com> 2009-04-19:
In some cases quitting on EOF is the right behavior, as in your
    tar cvf - somedir | ncat server 1234
But in other cases, staying alive until the remote end closes the
connection is correct. Consider
    echo -e 'GET / HTTP/1.0\r\n\r\n' | ncat scanme.nmap.org 80
With current Ncat you get a web page printed to the screen, and Ncat
exits. With the EOF patch, you get nothing (and Ncat exits).

Doh, what an oversight.  So looking only at the client side, we
have two cases.  In one case, we want Ncat to quit on EOF on
stdin, since communication is one-way.  In the other case, we
want to wait for the server to close the connection before we
quit, since we are interested in the response.  We should be able
to differentiate the two cases based on the already existing
--send-only switch.

Would you agree with the following behaviour:
- when using --send-only, Ncat should close the socket and quit
  after EOF on stdin, and
- when not using --send-only, Ncat should always wait on the
  server to close the connection before quitting?

That sounds very reasonable.

So it's hard to pick a good default. The documentation at
http://nc110.sourceforge.net/ has not quitting on EOF as a feature:
    You may be asking "why not just use telnet to connect to
    arbitrary ports?" Valid question, and here are some reasons.
    Telnet has the "standard input EOF" problem, so one must
    introduce calculated delays in driving scripts to allow network
    output to finish.
Then there is a -w <secs> option to quit after some period of

I don't have experience with earliers Netcats so I don't know what's
best. I guess my bias would be to leave connections running by default,
and add a switch to close on stdin EOF, the reason being that in case of
user error it's better to receive extra data than to potentially throw
data away.

Current default behaviour actually seems to *loose* data on
SIGINT because of buffering.  I tried sending an odd number of
bytes to an Ncat listener piping into hexdump (hd).  The last few
bytes never made it to hexdump after pressing Ctrl+C.  Same thing
with other consumers such as tar.

I'll look into that. You're not at all obligated to do this, but it
would help if you could write a failing test for this in
test/ncat-test.pl. Then we can demonstrate when it's fixed and avoid
reintroducing it in the future.

David Fifield

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