This project came about out of the desire for a quick fix for an annoying problem. Necessity is the mother of invention, after all. In my Computer and Information Security course we each had a machine assigned to us running an old version of the Mandriva Linux distribution.
These machines were lacking in a number of ways, but perhaps the most frustrating was the way that they would randomly (seemingly, anyway) lose display functionality. The machines were fully-functional other than the fact that they had no display on the monitor.
After much playing with different settings, I determined that the only way to fix the problem once it had occurred was to remotely access the machine and kill the x server. Once killed, it restarted itself and all was resolved. The issue with this fix was that it meant going through the ordeal of finding another machine to SSH in from. Because of this added hassle I would generally just hard power off the machine and then start it up again.
I finally got tired of this less-than-ideal solution, so I sat down and wrote SMS Shell. It’s only about 85 lines of code (and much less if handling for
cd is removed), but it was what I needed at the time. Given the extreme limitations of the SMS protocol, it’s not even remotely recommended for serious use, and I ended up not using it to solve my problem, but it was a fun little project that kept me busy for an hour or so.