Rails Talking To Another Application

I have a program that I would like to control via a web interface. The
program currently reads its preferences from a file. The program traps the
USR1 signal and re-reads the file. I have the Rails app look through the
running process list, find the application and send the signal.

This doesn't seem all that great to me. It works, but it doesn't seem
elegant. Plus, it wouldn't work on a Windows machine (which isn't too much
of a concern).

Is there a better way to do this?

Stephen Gerstacker