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Old 05-22-2009, 03:44 AM   #1
Registered: Feb 2006
Location: Bangalore, India
Distribution: Fedora Core 3
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Crontab doesn't give the output of the file it runs in terminal

I have scheduled a shell script to run at a particular time of day using 'crontab'.
# crontab -l
30 22 * * 5 /bin/su root -c "/"  
However, the echo commands output are not displayed on the terminal window when the script executes. I tried setting the crontab in the following manner,
# crontab -l
30 22 * * 5 /bin/su root -c "/"> /dev/stdout  

But still I do not see the output on the screen. How can get the output of a script run by 'cron' on terminal screen ?

Last edited by pranavojha; 05-22-2009 at 03:46 AM.
Old 05-23-2009, 11:50 AM   #2
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Cron normally sends you mail if a cron task generated any output (this
should include error messages).
You could redirect the output to a logfile.
Old 05-23-2009, 12:11 PM   #3
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To get the output in a terminal, you have to explicitly open it from the cron job and launch the script as a terminal command. Using KDE I can do something like:
10 19 * * * env DISPLAY=:0.0 konsole --noclose -e echo hello world
note that you have to set the DISPLAY environment variable, otherwise cron does not know where to open a new terminal. Furtehrmore the user to which the crontab belongs, must have an X session open (take in mind you cannot connect to the X display of another user, since usually you don't have the right permissions).

Finally, you have to find a way to keep the terminal open after the command execution. In konsole, as you can see from my example, there is a --noclose option. You have to find the trick if you use another terminal.
Old 08-24-2013, 04:19 PM   #4
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Registered: Dec 2012
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Thanks for that answer. An update for any debian users (I'm using Mint15 but Ubuntu etc should be the same).

I am using rdiffbackup so call a script that drives it. My command line is:

04 07 * * * env DISPLAY=:0.0 gnome-terminal -e /home/of user/.rdiffbackup

With gnome-terminal you can choose behaviour of the terminal when the command finishes. In my case I wanted the terminal to disappear if all backups complete successfully so I didn't. Instead I use the read command after an error to pause the terminal, awaiting user input.

A note for any rdiffbackup users having issues with cron. Cron has a very limited user environment compared with your terminal so you may have to fill in some missing variables for the SSH to work for rdiffbackup. In my case I needed to fill in SSH_AGENT_PID and SSH_AUTH_SOCK - the code is for the fish shell ... substituted " for the brackets around the command if you're using bash. The second assumes that the folder *keyring-* and associated file *ssh* is within /run - if its not then find out where your distro hides it and change it (the originator of this idea was searching /tmp for it).

set -x SSH_AGENT_PID (ps axww | grep -v grep | grep ssh-agent | grep -o -e [0-9][0-9][0-9][0-9])

set -x SSH_AUTH_SOCK (find /run/ -path '*keyring-*' -name '*ssh*' -print 2>/dev/null)
I include this in an old thread because google only cares about hit counts

Last edited by kiwi9; 08-24-2013 at 04:30 PM.


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