36.4. Recursion: a script calling itself

Can a script recursively call itself? Indeed.

Example 36-10. A (useless) script that recursively calls itself

# recurse.sh

#  Can a script recursively call itself?
#  Yes, but is this of any practical use?
#  (See the following.)


let "i %= $RANGE"  # Generate a random number between 0 and $RANGE - 1.

if [ "$i" -lt "$MAXVAL" ]
  echo "i = $i"
  ./$0             #  Script recursively spawns a new instance of itself.
fi                 #  Each child script does the same, until
                   #+ a generated $i equals $MAXVAL.

#  Using a "while" loop instead of an "if/then" test causes problems.
#  Explain why.

exit 0

# Note:
# ----
# This script must have execute permission for it to work properly.
# This is the case even if it is invoked by an "sh" command.
# Explain why.

Example 36-11. A (useful) script that recursively calls itself

# pb.sh: phone book

# Written by Rick Boivie, and used with permission.
# Modifications by ABS Guide author.

MINARGS=1     #  Script needs at least one argument.
              #  A data file in current working directory
              #+ named "phonebook" must exist.
E_NOARGS=70   #  No arguments error.

if [ $# -lt $MINARGS ]; then
      echo "Usage: "$PROGNAME" data-to-look-up"
      exit $E_NOARGS

if [ $# -eq $MINARGS ]; then
      grep $1 "$DATAFILE"
      # 'grep' prints an error message if $DATAFILE not present.
      ( shift; "$PROGNAME" $* ) | grep $1
      # Script recursively calls itself.

exit 0        #  Script exits here.
              #  Therefore, it's o.k. to put
              #+ non-hashmarked comments and data after this point.

# ------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sample "phonebook" datafile:

John Doe        1555 Main St., Baltimore, MD 21228          (410) 222-3333
Mary Moe        9899 Jones Blvd., Warren, NH 03787          (603) 898-3232
Richard Roe     856 E. 7th St., New York, NY 10009          (212) 333-4567
Sam Roe         956 E. 8th St., New York, NY 10009          (212) 444-5678
Zoe Zenobia     4481 N. Baker St., San Francisco, SF 94338  (415) 501-1631
# ------------------------------------------------------------------------

$bash pb.sh Roe
Richard Roe     856 E. 7th St., New York, NY 10009          (212) 333-4567
Sam Roe         956 E. 8th St., New York, NY 10009          (212) 444-5678

$bash pb.sh Roe Sam
Sam Roe         956 E. 8th St., New York, NY 10009          (212) 444-5678

#  When more than one argument is passed to this script,
#+ it prints *only* the line(s) containing all the arguments.

Example 36-12. Another (useful) script that recursively calls itself

# usrmnt.sh, written by Anthony Richardson
# Used in ABS Guide with permission.

# usage:       usrmnt.sh
# description: mount device, invoking user must be listed in the
#              MNTUSERS group in the /etc/sudoers file.

# ----------------------------------------------------------
#  This is a usermount script that reruns itself using sudo.
#  A user with the proper permissions only has to type

#   usermount /dev/fd0 /mnt/floppy

# instead of

#   sudo usermount /dev/fd0 /mnt/floppy

#  I use this same technique for all of my
#+ sudo scripts, because I find it convenient.
# ----------------------------------------------------------

#  If SUDO_COMMAND variable is not set we are not being run through
#+ sudo, so rerun ourselves. Pass the user's real and group id . . .

if [ -z "$SUDO_COMMAND" ]
   mntusr=$(id -u) grpusr=$(id -g) sudo $0 $*
   exit 0

# We will only get here if we are being run by sudo.
/bin/mount $* -o uid=$mntusr,gid=$grpusr

exit 0

# Additional notes (from the author of this script): 
# -------------------------------------------------

# 1) Linux allows the "users" option in the /etc/fstab
#    file so that any user can mount removable media.
#    But, on a server, I like to allow only a few
#    individuals access to removable media.
#    I find using sudo gives me more control.

# 2) I also find sudo to be more convenient than
#    accomplishing this task through groups.

# 3) This method gives anyone with proper permissions
#    root access to the mount command, so be careful
#    about who you allow access.
#    You can get finer control over which access can be mounted
#    by using this same technique in separate mntfloppy, mntcdrom,
#    and mntsamba scripts.


Too many levels of recursion can exhaust the script's stack space, causing a segfault.