Path And 'cron'

Tim Daneliuk tundra at
Mon Feb 20 19:28:58 PST 2006

Randy Pratt wrote:


>>   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.

I wonder if I can use the PATH=$PATH:/my/new/stuff formulation in
a crontab file to preserve this default.  I'll have to look into that.

>>   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"
>      #endif
> 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.

That's what I was hoping for - tweaking the source is not a very
clean way to solve my problem.

In case you're interested (or anyone else listening), it seems that
'chown' likes to live in /usr/sbin - i.e., A place not in the default
path.  As it happens, a root cron task is trying to run a script
that uses 'chown' and is thus failing.  I can change the PATH just
for root's crontab and solve the problem.  I was just curious if there
was a way to more broadly modify the defaults used by cron.

Thanks again, for your time in this matter ...

Tim Daneliuk     tundra at
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