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Re: soliciting opinions about potential new cron/at features.

On Sun, Feb 14, 1999 at 05:50:53PM -0600, Rob Browning wrote:

> Cron:
> =====
> The problem: take GnuCash as an example.  I'd like to add a nice
> interface for "automatic transactions", so you can say things like
> "record my rent payment at the first of every month into the checking
> register" and just have it happen automatically.  Now I could try to
> write some kind of mechanism to handle this internally, but I'd
> quickly get stuck (especially if I wanted things to happen even when
> GnuCash wasn't running) into re-implementing cron -- a waste of both
> time and system resources.  However, as cron now stands, I can't
> easily use it either because these kinds of Gnucash commands need to
> be added to the *user*'s crontab, not the system one, and I
> *definitely* don't want to do any automatic editing of the user's
> crontab.  That sounds like a stellar way to get yourself lynched if
> you screw something up.

yes, it certainly does.

what i can't understand is why end-user stuff like this needs to be
handled by the system administrator.

if an end-user needs to do something like this, why can't they schedule
their own job (with cron or at - even at can be made to do regular jobs if
the last command of the script inserts itself into the at queue again)?

IMO it would be better to concentrate on creating whatever command line
tools and wrapper scripts are needed for users to easily automate such
tasks, and then document it with clear, well-written examples.

i.e. focus on making the existing infrastructure (cron) more accessible
to non-technical users.

> Suggested solution: add the idea of "independent sections" to cron at
> the user level.  Conceptually I'm talking about something similar to
> the Debian cron.d directories.  You'd add a --section (or -s) argument
> to crontab that would specify "which" user crontab you meant, so you
> could do something like this:

IMO this is analagous to using a sledgehammer to kill a mosquito which
has landed on a glass ornament....you'll probably get the mosquito but
you'll almost certainly break the ornament too.

there are better ways to solve the problem than using a sledgehammer.


craig sanders

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