Command Line Application

Creating a command line application using C

Command Line Application

Creating command line apps using various programming languages is easy with Fedora. For this example we will write a simple c program that gathers system info and prints to stdout.

Getting started

Install required libraries

For simple C programs a compiler and a text editor is all we need to get started.

For this example we will use gcc as our compiler.

$ sudo dnf install gcc

Create a workspace

$ mkdir work && cd work

Command Line Application in C

For this example we will use the uname function in utsname C library to gather information about the system similar to the output of the uname -a command and format it into a human readable block.

The output from our example cli should match the output of uname with the corresponding switches.

Here is an example of the uname output we are trying to achieve using cat to match the format

$ cat << EOF
Node Info
node: $(uname -n)          
system: $(uname -s)
version: $(uname -v)
release: $(uname -r)
arch: $(uname -m)


The results look like this

Node Info
node: fedora
system: Linux
version: #1 SMP Tue Sep 4 15:56:14 UTC 2018
release: 4.18.5-200.fc28.x86_64
arch: x86_64

Write code for command line application

Our example is a simple one file C program. To get started we need to write our C code into a file named nodeinfo.c

You can write the C file using the editor of your choice.

$ gedit nodeinfo.c

Here is the example code for nodeinfo.c

// Node Info Cli App
#include <sys/utsname.h>
#include <stdio.h>
#include <stdlib.h>
#include <errno.h>

int main()
    // define utsname struct
    struct utsname info;
    // call uname() and check call
    if (uname(&info) < 0)
        // error if call fails
        fprintf(stderr, "Error in uname : %d\n", errno);
    } else {
        // Print Node Info
        printf("Node Info\n----------\n");
        printf("node : %s\n", info.nodename);
        printf("system : %s\n", info.sysname);
        printf("version : %s\n", info.version);
        printf("release : %s\n", info.release);
        printf("arch : %s\n", info.machine);

Save the file as nodeinfo.c.

Compile code for command line application

We can compile our cli at the command line using gcc. To do this open a terminal and navigate to your workspace.

The command is as follows.

$ gcc -o nodeinfo nodeinfo.c

The gcc command flag -o nodeinfo tells gcc to generate a binary named nodeinfo in the same directory as nodeinfo.c.

The binary should be executable so give it a spin.

$ ./nodeinfo

And the output should be similar to this

Node Info
node : fedora
system : Linux
version : #1 SMP Tue Sep 4 15:56:14 UTC 2018
release : 4.18.5-200.fc28.x86_64
arch : x86_64

Source Code

Source code for this and more examples

Authors: Adam Samalik, Brett Smith, Máirín Duffy