cleo(1) Play back shell commands for live demonstrations




"cleo" is a utility for playing back pre-recorded shell commands in a live demonstration. "cleo" displays the commands as if you had actually typed them and then executes them interactively.

There is probably an easy way to do this with "expect" or a similar tool. But I couldn't figure it out, so I built this. Your mileage may vary.


"cleo" always pauses and waits for a keypress before displaying a command and before executing it. Pressing any key besides those listed below will advance the playback:

  Key                       Action
  s                         skip the current command
  r                         redo the current command
  p                         redo the previous command
  q                         quit playback


"cleo" reads commands from a file. Each line is treated as one command. Blank lines and those starting with "#" will be ignored. The commands themselves can be anything that you would type into an interactive shell. You can also add a few special tokens that "cleo" recognizes:
Commands starting with "!!!" (three exclamation points) are not displayed and will be executed immediately. This is useful for running setup commands at the beginning of your demonstration.
Within a command, "%%%" (three percent signs) will cause "cleo" to pause and wait for a keypress before displaying the rest of the command. This is useful if you want to stop in the middle of a command to give some explanation.

Otherwise, "cleo" displays and executes the commands verbatim. Note that some interactive commands like "vim" are picky about STDOUT and STDIN. To make them work properly with "cleo", you may need to force them to attach to the terminal like this:

    (exec < /dev/tty vim)


I use this for giving demonstrations of pinto, such as the one seen at <> (the live demonstration part starts around 10:47).

The command file that I use for that presentation is included inside this distribution at examples/pinto.demo. This file is for illustration only, so don't expect it to actually work for you.


"cleo" only works on Unix-like platforms. It may work on Windows if you use Cygwin. Personally, I have only used "cleo" on Mac OS X.


Jump to arbitrary command number
Support backspacing in recorded command
Support multi-line recorded commands
Write unit tests


Jeffrey Ryan Thalhammer <[email protected]>


Copyright (c) 2014, Imaginative Software Systems