FreeBSD Jails & Python

This post is about Python and FreeBSD Jails.

It shows you how you can use Python for managing your FreeBSD jails.

The Python interface for jail_get() system call has been added to the existing devel/py-freebsd port and the purpose of this Python interface is to allow you to get jail's parameters like the JID, hostname, IP address, etc.

For now the jail_get() Python interface is only available from the Github repository listed below, but hopefully soon enough it will be added to the FreeBSD Ports Collection as well.

Okay, lets see what we can do with the new jail_get() system call interface for Python, time to fire up your Python interpreter!

dnaeon:(~) % python
Python 2.7.3 (default, Aug  4 2012, 12:47:37) 
[GCC 4.2.1 20070831 patched [FreeBSD]] on freebsd9
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.

First lets load the needed Python modules:

>>> from freebsd import *
>>> from pprint import *

The Python interface for jail_get() takes one integer argument, which is the jail's JID and returns a dictionary with the parameters of the jail.

If you want to get the parameters of all your jails then pass 0 (zero) as the argument to jail_get(). Check the example below:

>>> pprint(jail_get(0))

{'3': {'hostname': '',
    'ip4': '',
    'jid': 3,
    'path': '/jails/relay'},
'4': {'hostname': '',
    'ip4': '',
    'jid': 4,
    'path': '/jails/mysql'},
'495': {'hostname': '',
    'ip4': '',
    'jid': 495,
    'path': '/jails/www'},
'496': {'hostname': '',
    'ip4': '',
    'jid': 496,
    'path': '/jails/www-proxy'}}

You can see from the above output that we've got a nice dictionary with the parameters of all our jails. Getting the parameters for a single jail works too, check this example:

>>> jail_get(3)
{'path': '/jails/relay', 'jid': 3, 'hostname': '', 'name': '3', 'ip4': ''}

Okay, that's all good, but can we do more with it? Sure, we can now write a simple jls(8)-like Python function that displays information about our FreeBSD jails. The script below works in a similar way to jls(8) and displays information about our jails:

#!/usr/bin/env python

import freebsd

def py_jls():
    jails = freebsd.jail_get(0)

    print '%5s  %-15s  %-35s  %-20s' % ('JID', 'IP Address', 'Hostname', 'Path')

    for j in jails:
        print '%5s  %-15s  %-35s  %-20s' % \
            (jails[j]['jid'], jails[j]['ip4'], jails[j]['hostname'], jails[j]['path'])

if __name__ == '__main__':

And here's the output after running the script, which is pretty much the same as jls(8).

dnaeon:(~) % python
JID  IP Address         Hostname                   Path                
495            /jails/www          
3          /jails/relay        
4          /jails/mysql        
496      /jails/www-proxy
Written on January 3, 2013