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The command batch is one of the three commands that constitute simple batch scheduler in Unix. The other two are jobs and jobs. There is also script atrun which allow to specify the load threshold below which batch jobs are allowed to run.
The batch utility is a primitive batch system built-in all major Unixes and Linux. It is based on at command and executes commands when system load levels permit.
But default this is when the load average drops below 0.8, or the value specified in the invocation of atrun -l load_avg] [-d]
The latter is a shell script containing invocation of /usr/sbin/atd with the -s option (exists for compatibility with other Unixes). In Linux it is extremely primitive and alternative batch systems should be used for anything more complex then submitting series of jobs with equal priorities.
By default batch submit jobs into b queue, the queue exists specifically for batch jobs (query a is used for at command submissions and query c for crontab submission). Execution of submitted jobs can be delayed by limits on the number of jobs allowed to run concurrently. Submission jobs into several queries permit running several jobs streams in parallel.
The optional increment after time specification in at command permit to specify offset from the time. It should be a number preceded by a plus sign (+) with one of the following suffixes:
The spacing is quite flexible as long as there are no ambiguities. For example:0815am Jan 24 8 :15amjan24 now "+ 1day" 5 pm FRIday '17 utc+ 30minutes'
The singular forms are also accepted, for example
now + 1 minute
The keyword next can be used as an equivalent to an increment + 1. For example,:
2pm + 1 week
2pm next week
/usr/bin/batch [ -p project ]
/usr/xpg4/bin/batch [-p project]
Two "twins" at and batch are very similar with batch being alias to at with supplied "now" time of execution.
Commands of the forms:
/usr/bin/batch [-p project] /usr/xpg4/bin/batch [-p project]
are respectively equivalent to:
/usr/bin/at -q b [-p project] now /usr/xpg4/bin/at -q b -m [-p project] now
At the same time at is quite different animal than cron: "at" preserves the environment in which it was invoked, while cron does not (it executes command in its own "cron" environment, and you should not expect that PATH and other valuables will be preserved).
The at utility is pipable: it can reads commands from standard input and submit a job to be executed immediately (like in example below) or at a later time.
echo "perl myjob" | at now
The at-job is executed in a separate invocation of the shell, running in a separate process group with no controlling terminal, except that the environment variables, current working directory, file creation mask (see umask(1)), and system resource limits (for sh and ksh only, see ulimit(1)) in effect when the at utility is executed is retained and used when the at-job is executed.
When the at-job is submitted, the at_job_id and scheduled time are written to standard error. The at_job_id is an identifier that is a string consisting solely of alphanumeric characters and the period character. The at_job_id is assigned by the system when the job is scheduled such that it uniquely identifies a particular job.
User notification and the processing of the job's standard output and standard error are described under the -m option.
Like with cron two files that list users one per line and are similar to cron control files control the behavior of the command:
If that file does not exist, the file /usr/lib/cron/at.deny
is checked to determine if the user should be denied access to
! bad user (webservd) Fri Apr 21 14:47:49 2006
That can also happen with human accounts if password aging was turned
on. Apparently if the password expires cron jobs do not run.
If the -c, -k, or -s options are not specified, the SHELL environment variable by default determines which shell to use.
For /usr/xpg4/bin/at and /usr/xpg4/bin/batch, if SHELL is unset or NULL, /usr/xpg4/bin/sh is used.
For usr/bin/at and /usr/bin/batch, if SHELL is unset or NULL, /bin/sh is used.
The following options are supported:
If -m is
not used, the job's standard output and standard error is provided to
the user by means of mail, unless they are redirected elsewhere; if
there is no such output to provide, the user is not notified of the
The following operands are supported:
In the "C" locale, the following describes the three parts of the time specification string. All of the values from the LC_TIME categories in the "C" locale are recognized in a case-insensitive manner.
If no date is given, today is assumed if
the given time is greater than the current time, and tomorrow
is assumed if it is less. If the given month is less than the current
month (and no year is given), next year is assumed.
at 2pm + 1 week at 2pm next week
The format of the at command line shown here is guaranteed only for the "C" locale. Other locales are not supported for midnight, noon, now, mon, abmon, day, abday, today, tomorrow, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, and next.
Since the commands run in a separate shell invocation, running in a separate process group with no controlling terminal, open file descriptors, traps and priority inherited from the invoking environment are lost.
$ at -m 0730 tomorrow sort < file >outfile <EOT>
$ at now + 1 hour <<! diff file1 file2 2>&1 >outfile | mailx mygroup !
This sequence can be used at a terminal:
$ batch sort <file >outfile <EOT>Example 6 Redirecting Output
This sequence, which demonstrates redirecting standard error to a pipe, is useful in a command procedure (the sequence of output redirection specifications is significant):
$ batch <<! diff file1 file2 2>&1 >outfile | mailx mygroup !
Ok, I got it! The issue was within the pam.conf and we were missing the following line:
cron account required pam_projects.so.1
Thanks for the help!
After some research I found out that Solaris logs crontab messages to /var/cron/log (which is actually pretty predictable logging for Solaris). The log entries for the updating of the sunfreeware mirror looked something like this:
> CMD: /usr/local/bin/update-sunfreeware
> ftp 21022 c Fri Jul 30 06:00:00 2004
! bad user (ftp) Fri Jul 30 06:00:00 2004
So we are talking about a bad user here. Well actually the user is all there and running in /etc/passwd and /etc/shadow. But hey wait, the FTP account is locked. Well I found that normal behaviour, but guess what, crontab expects a password there, else the account is not good and is a bad user!
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