The s6-ucspitlsc program

s6-ucspitlsc is a client-side program that establishes communication channels according to the UCSPI-TLS protocol, then execs into an application. Later, if the application sends a command, a TLS tunnel will be started and the application will be able to use it instead of communicating with the network via cleartext.

The point of this protocol, and this program, is to make it easy to implement commands like SMTP's STARTTLS without embedding a TLS stack in the client itself.


     s6-ucspitlsc [ -S | -s ] [ -J | -j ] [ -Y | -y ] [ -Z | -z ] [ -v verbosity ] [ -K kimeout ] [ -k servername ] [ -6 rfd ] [ -7 wfd ] [ -- ] prog...

Exit codes

Normally the parent s6-ucspitlsc process execs into prog... and the child process execs into s6-tlsc-io. If the parent dies or closes its control socket before sending a command to start TLS, the child exits 0.

Environment variables


s6-ucspitlsc does not expect to have any particular environment variables, but it spawns a s6-tlsc-io program that does. So it should pay attention to the following variables:


By default, prog... is run with all these variables unset: CADIR, CAFILE, KEYFILE, CERTFILE, TLS_UID and TLS_GID. They're passed to the s6-tlsc-io child but not to prog.... The -Z option prevents that behaviour.

However, prog... is run with the following additional environment variables, following the UCSPI-TLS protocol:

Since prog is exec'ed before the TLS handshake takes place, it cannot get information about the TLS connection via environment variables. However, if it starts the TLS connection via a Y command (as opposed to a y command), it will receive this information as a string sent over the control socket.