debugging cronjobs not running

Michael P. Soulier msoulier at
Sun Nov 9 03:57:12 PST 2008

So, I'm running cron in debug mode, and I do see things like this
about my crontab.

load_entry()...returning successfully
load_env, read <*/5 * * * * cacti /usr/local/bin/php
/usr/local/share/cacti/poller.php 1>/dev/null 2>&1>
load_env, parse error, state = 7

but that parse_error line is the same for many links that do seem to
be run properly.

The symptoms I'm seeing is some cronjobs, specifically weekly ones,
not running as expected. Plus, I used to get email from the nightly
runs of periodic, and now I don't see anything. I know some jobs
aren't running because they produce files as output and I'm not seeing
them. That, or they're simply running unsuccessfully.

One thing I noticed is that "man 5 crontab" seems to make no mention
of the "user" field used in /etc/crontab, but that's likely just a
documentation error.

Has anyone ever configured cronjobs that just didn't run, or you
didn't get mail for them like you should have?

Michael P. Soulier <msoulier at>
"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex... It takes a
touch of genius - and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction."
--Albert Einstein

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