Scheduling System Administration Tasks

The first summit in automating system administration tasks is starting one without being present. All UNIX variants provide two process-scheduling tools, called at and cron, to support this work. Using the at utility, you can schedule a job to execute at some point in the future whether you are logged in or not. Using cron, you can set up a script or process to execute on a recurring interval—every hour, day, week, or month—so you can manage routine jobs without having to think about them.

You do have to think a bit more carefully about the command, scripts, or programs you use with these facilities. For one, there necessarily isn’t a command path or environment variables to supplement the job. This usually ...

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