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tmpwatch recursively removes files which haven't been accessed for a given time. Normally, it's used to clean up directories which are used for temporary holding space such as /tmp.
When changing directories, tmpwatch is very sensitive to possible race conditions and will exit with an error if one is detected. It does not follow symbolic links in the directories it's cleaning (even if a symbolic link is given as its argument), will not switch filesystems, skips lost+found directories owned by the root user, and only removes empty directories, regular files, and symbolic links.
By default, tmpwatch dates files by their atime (access time), not their mtime (modification time). If files aren't being removed when ls -l implies they should be, use ls -u to examine their atime to see if that explains the problem.
If the --atime, --ctime or --mtime options are used in combination, the decision about deleting a file will be based on the maximum of these times. The --dirmtime option implies ignoring atime of directories, even if the --atime option is used.
The time parameter defines the threshold for removing files. If the file has not been accessed for time, the file is removed. The time argument is a number with an optional single-character suffix specifying the units: m for minutes, h for hours, d for days. If no suffix is specified, time is in hours.
Following this, one or more directories may be given for tmpwatch to clean up.
Note that the periodic updatedb file system scans keep the atime of directories recent.
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