Path And 'cron'

Randy Pratt bsd-unix at
Mon Feb 20 16:41:57 PST 2006

On Mon, 20 Feb 2006 10:21:22 -0600
Tim Daneliuk <tundra at> wrote:

> Randy Pratt wrote:
> > On Sun, 19 Feb 2006 15:25:49 -0600
> > Tim Daneliuk <tundra at> wrote:
> > 
> > 
> >>Where is the default path for cron jobs established? (And can it
> >>be changed...)
> >>
> > 
> > 
> > Take a look at:
> > 
> >
> > 
> > and see if that answers your question.
> > 
> > Best regards,
> > 
> > Randy
> > --
> > 
> Well ... it answered my question partially.  But as I looked back over
> it, I realized my central questions are still unanswered:
>    If I do not have a PATH= statement in a particular user's crontab,
>    what is used for a default PATH?

>From "man 5 crontab" :

     Several environment variables are set up automatically by the cron
     (8) daemon.  SHELL is set to /bin/sh, PATH is set to /usr/bin:/bin,
     and LOGNAME and HOME are set from the /etc/passwd line of the
     crontab's owner.  HOME, PATH and SHELL may be overridden by
     settings in the crontab; LOGNAME may not.

>    Is the path in /etc/crontab inherited somehow?
>    Given that the default shell is /bin/sh, are the settings
>    in /etc/profile observed?  If no PATH is established there either,
>    what will cron use?
> I am trying to determine the best place to establish correct global
> PATH settings for all cron users so I don't have to edit each users'
> crontab file when file locations are updated or changed.

It seems that the PATH is being set in the source code, in particular
/usr/src/usr.sbin/cron/cron/pathnames.h :

     #ifndef _PATH_DEFPATH
     # define _PATH_DEFPATH "/usr/bin:/bin"

I suppose its possible to change the source and rebuild but there may
be subtle interactions that aren't readily apparent that would need to
be considered.  There may even be a knob to tweak somewhere for this.

Sorry I can't give you a definitive answer on this.  Perhaps someone
with more direct experience can give you proper guidance here.  

Best regards,



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