Supervisor: A System for Allowing the Control of Process State on UNIX
The supervisor is a client/server system that allows its users to
control a number of processes on UNIX-like operating systems. It
was inspired by the following:
- It is often inconvenient to need to write "rc.d" scripts for
every single process instance. rc.d scripts are a great
lowest-common-denominator form of process
initialization/autostart/management, but they can be painful to
write and maintain. Additionally, rc.d scripts cannot
automatically restart a crashed process and many programs do not
restart themselves properly on a crash. Supervisord starts
processes as its subprocesses, and can be configured to
automatically restart them on a crash. It can also automatically
be configured to start processes on its own invocation.
- It's often difficult to get accurate up/down status on processes
on UNIX. Pidfiles often lie. Supervisord starts processes as
subprocesses, so it always knows the true up/down status of its
children and can be queried conveniently for this data.
- Users who need to control process state often need only to do
that. They don't want or need full-blown shell access to the
machine on which the processes are running. Supervisorctl allows
a very limited form of access to the machine, essentially
allowing users to see process status and control
supervisord-controlled subprocesses by emitting "stop", "start",
and "restart" commands from a simple shell or web UI.
- Users often need to control processes on many machines.
Supervisor provides a simple, secure, and uniform mechanism for
interactively and automatically controlling processes on groups
- Processes which listen on "low" TCP ports often need to be
started and restarted as the root user (a UNIX misfeature). It's
usually the case that it's perfectly fine to allow "normal"
people to stop or restart such a process, but providing them with
shell access is often impractical, and providing them with root
access or sudo access is often impossible. It's also (rightly)
difficult to explain to them why this problem exists. If
supervisord is started as root, it is possible to allow "normal"
users to control such processes without needing to explain the
intricacies of the problem to them.
- Processes often need to be started and stopped in groups,
sometimes even in a "priority order". It's often difficult to
explain to people how to do this. Supervisor allows you to
assign priorities to processes, and allows user to emit commands
via the supervisorctl client like "start all", and "restart all",
which starts them in the preassigned priority order.
Additionally, processes can be grouped into "process groups" and
a set of logically related processes can be stopped and started
as a unit.
Supervisor has been tested and is known to run on Linux (Ubuntu
Dapper), Mac OS X (10.4), and Solaris (10 for Intel) and FreeBSD
6.1. It will likely work fine on most UNIX systems.
Supervisor will not run at all under any version of Windows.
Supervisor is known to work with Python 2.3.3 or better, and it may
work with Python 2.3.0, Python 2.3.1 and Python 2.3.2 (although
these have not been tested). It will not work under Python versions
2.2 or before.
You can view the current Supervisor documentation online "in html
format":http://supervisord.org/manual/ . This is where you should
go for detailed installation and configuration documentation.
XXX We need some way of getting people the entire docs set without
needing to read it via HTML online.
Maillist, Reporting Bugs, and Viewing the CVS Repository
You may subscribe to the 'Supervisor-users'
Please report bugs at "the
XXX get a better bugtracker
You can view the Subversion repository for supervisor via
If you'd like to contribute to supervisor directly, please contact
Chris McDonough (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Mike Naberezny (email@example.com)