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by Falkkin (Chaplain)
on Mar 11, 2001 at 08:26 UTC ( #63580=sourcecode: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??
Category: Networking Code
Author/Contact Info Colin McMillen (see my homenode here)
Description: Net::Ping::External is a module that uses your system's default ping command and parses the result. It contains a single public function: ping(). ping() takes in a host and a timeout, and returns true if the system was able to ping the host before the timeout expired, false otherwise.

Look here for more info/discussion on why I am doing this. I need as many monks as possible to test this module, since I will eventually (although not any time soon) be attempting to submit this to CPAN.

- more extensive testing
- support for more esoteric systems

- Fixed support for Win32 systems and generalized the various unix-like pings into one function.
- Added POD, version number, other module-related stuff.

package Net::Ping::External;

# Author:   Colin McMillen (
# Copyright (c) 2001 Colin McMillen.  All rights reserved.  This
# program is free software; you may redistribute it and/or modify it
# under the same terms as Perl itself.

use warnings;
use strict;
use Carp;
require Exporter;

$VERSION = "0.01";
@ISA = qw(Exporter);
@EXPORT = qw();
@EXPORT_OK = qw(ping);

sub ping {
  my %args = @_;

  $args{host} = $args{hostname} if defined $args{hostname};
  croak("You must provide a hostname") unless defined $args{host};
  $args{timeout} = 5 unless defined $args{timeout} && $args{timeout} >
+ 0;

  my %dispatch = 
    (linux   => \&_ping_linux,
     mswin32 => \&_ping_win32,
     solaris => \&_ping_solaris,
     openbsd => \&_ping_unix,
     freebsd => \&_ping_unix,
     netbsd  => \&_ping_unix,
     irix    => \&_ping_unix,
     aix     => \&_ping_unix,

  my $subref = $dispatch{lc $^O};

  croak("External ping not supported on your system") unless $subref;

  return $subref->($args{host}, $args{timeout});

# Win32 is the only system so far for which we actually need to parse 
# results of the system ping command.
sub _ping_win32 {
  my ($hostname, $timeout) = @_;
  $timeout *= 1000;    # Win32 ping timeout is specified in millisecon
  my $command = "ping -n 1 -w $timeout $hostname";
  my $result = `$command`;
  return 1 if $result =~ /\(0% loss\)/i;
  return 0;

# Generic subroutine to handle pinging using the system() function. Ge
# UNIX-like systems return 0 on a successful ping and something else o
# failure. If the return value of running $command is equal to the val
# specified as $success, the ping succeeds. Otherwise, it fails.
sub _ping_system {
  my ($command,   # The ping command to run
      $success,   # What value the system ping command returns on succ
     ) = @_;
  my $devnull = "/dev/null";
  $command .= " 1>$devnull 2>$devnull";
  my $exit_status = system($command) >> 8;
  return 1 if $exit_status == $success;
  return 0;

# Below are all the systems on which _ping_system() has been tested
# and found OK.

# OpenBSD 2.7 OK, IRIX 6.5 OK
# Assumed OK for NetBSD, FreeBSD, and AIX, but needs testing
sub _ping_unix {
  my ($hostname, $timeout) = @_;
  my $command = "ping -c 1 -w $timeout $hostname";
  return _ping_system($command, 0);

# Debian 2.2 OK, RedHat 6.2 OK
sub _ping_linux {
  my ($hostname, $timeout) = @_;
  my $command = "ping -c 1 $hostname";
  return _ping_system($command, 0);

# Solaris 2.6, 2.7 OK
sub _ping_solaris {
  my ($hostname, $timeout) = @_;
  my $command = "ping $hostname $timeout";
  return _ping_system($command, 0);



=head1 NAME

Net::Ping::External - Cross-platform interface to ICMP "ping" utilitie


In general:

  use Net::Ping::External qw(ping);

Some examples:

  use Net::Ping::External qw(ping);

  # Ping a single host
  my $alive = ping(host => "");
  print " is online" if $alive;

  # Or a list of hosts
  my @hosts = qw(;
  my $num_alive = 0;
  foreach (@hosts) {
    $alive = ping(hostname => $_, timeout => 5);
    print "$_ is alive!\n" if $alive;
  print "$num_alive hosts are alive.\n";


Net::Ping::External is a module which interfaces with the "ping" comma
on many systems. It presently provides a single function, C<ping()>, t
takes in a hostname and (optionally) a timeout and returns true if the
host is alive, and false otherwise. Unless you have the ability (and
willingness) to run your scripts as the superuser on your system, this
module will probably provide more accurate results than Net::Ping will


=over 4

=item *

ICMP ping is the most reliable way to tell whether a remote host is al

=item *

However, Net::Ping cannot use an ICMP ping unless you are running your
script with privileged (AKA "root") access.

=item *

The system's "ping" command uses ICMP and does not usually require
privileged access.

=item *

While it is relatively trivial to write a Perl script that parses the
output of the "ping" command on a given system, the aim of this module
is to encapsulate this functionality and provide a single interface fo
it that works on many systems.


Support currently exists for interfacing with the standard ping
utilities on the following systems:

=over 4

=item * Win32

Tested OK on Win98. It should work on other Windows systems as well.

=item * Linux

Tested OK on Debian 2.2 and Redhat 6.2, although Linux ping appears no
+t to
support the "timeout" option. If you are using this module on
a different flavor of Linux, please test it and let me know of the res

=item * BSD

Tested OK on OpenBSD 2.7. Needs testing for FreeBSD, NetBSD, and BSDi.

=item * Solaris

Tested OK on Solaris 2.6 and 2.7.

=item * IRIX

Tested OK on IRIX 6.5.

=item * AIX

I have been informed that this module should work on AIX as well. No
official test results yet.


More systems will be added as soon as any users request them. If your
system is not currently supported, e-mail me; adding support to your
system is probably trivial.

=head2 ping() options

This module is still "alpha"; it is expected that more options to the 
function will be added soon.

=over 4

=item * C<host, hostname>

The hostname (or dotted-quad IP address) of the remote host you are tr
to ping. This is the only required option.

"host" and "hostname" are synonymous.

=item * C<timeout>

The maximum amount of time, in seconds, that C<ping()> will wait for a
+ response.
If the remote system does not respond before the timeout has elapsed, 
will return false.

Default value: 5.


=head1 BUGS

This module should be considered alpha. Bugs may exist. Although no
specific bugs are known at this time, the module could use testing
on a greater variety of systems.

See the warning below.

=head1 WARNING

This module calls whatever "ping" program it first finds in your PATH
environment variable. If your PATH contains a trojan "ping" program,
this module will call that program. This involves a small amount of
risk, but no more than simply typing "ping" at a system prompt.

Beware Greeks bearing gifts.

=head1 AUTHOR

Colin McMillen (

This library is free software; you can redistribute it and/or
modify it under the same terms as Perl itself.

=head1 SEE ALSO



Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: Net::Ping::External
by myocom (Deacon) on Mar 11, 2001 at 22:15 UTC

    For the Win32 ping, you can add '> nul' (the equivalent of '> /dev/null') to give it the same behavior as the other OS's.

    Also, you have it returning 0 if it finds "100% loss", but it will falsely report success if you feed it a host that doesn't exist, since the result of `ping` will be Unknown host (which doesn't contain "100% loss" in it).

      BTW, File::Spec knows what "/dev/null" / "nul" is for more operating systems.

              - tye (but my friends call me "Tye")
      Actually, I need to have Win32 ping behave differently than the other OS's. This is because, unlike everything Unix-like, Win32 returns 0 on successful ping, 0 on failed ping. Hence, I can't analyze the return value from system(), and actually need to parse the output, using backticks.
      Thank you for the feedback; I've now fixed this in the code above.
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