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Using the commandline network utilities from Emacs

by mickey on March 2nd, 2011

Unbeknownst to many, Emacs comes with a full suite of wrappers around the common GNU network utilities.

Most of the utilities are just simple wrappers around their command-line equivalents, but in full technicolor; but some — like the nslookup support — also adds full Emacs comint support.

Another useful feature is the built-in ffap support (it means find file at point) and it will try to determine if the point is — if used interactively with the net utils below — on a hostname or IP and default to that.

The net utils library were written with the GNU libraries in mind, so Windows users may find the support a bit lacking. But you can always download the Win32 ports.

Here’s a list of utilities Emacs supports; invoke with M-x. You may have to configure them to your liking, and you can do that by invoking M-x customize-group RET net-utils RET.

Command Description
ifconfig and ipconfig Runs ifconfig or ipconfig
iwconfig Runs the iwconfig tool
netstat Runs the netstat tool
arp Runs the arp tool
route Runs the route tool
traceroute Runs the traceroute tool
ping Runs ping, but on most systems it may run indefinitely; adjust ping-program-options.
nslookup-host Runs nslookup in non-interactive mode.
nslookup Runs nslookup in interactive mode in Emacs as an inferior process
dns-lookup-host Look up the DNS information for an IP or host using host.
run-dig and dig Invokes the dig in interactive mode as an inferior process
ftp Very simple wrapper around the commandline tool ftp. You are probably better off with TRAMP for all but low-level system administration.
smbclient and smbclient-list-shares Runs smbclient as an inferior process or list a hosts’ shares.
finger Runs the finger tool
whois and whois-reverse-lookup Runs the whois tool but tries to guess the correct WHOIS server. You may have to tweak whois-server-tld and whois-server-list or set whois-guess-server to nil
  1. Nifty! I’ll keep it in mind for the occasional “route”, “traceroute” and “ping”.



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  1. Emacs Net Utilities | Irreal

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