This week's book giveaway is in the Mac OS forum. We're giving away four copies of a choice of "Take Control of Upgrading to Yosemite" or "Take Control of Automating Your Mac" and have Joe Kissell on-line! See this thread for details.
Welcome to the Ranch, James!
If you know the interval at which linux pings packets, maybe you can write a program which talks to linux runtime.
It can then hit the ping command and start a thread at the specified interval to read response from the Runtime.
"One of the best things you could do is to simplify a larger application into a smaller one by reducing its process and complexity - Fowler"