February 23rd, 2006



My predecessor was somewhat fond of cron jobs. The LDAP server grinds to a halt, after a while, he sets up a cron job to bounce it on a regular basis[1]. Centralised MOTD on a number of servers, cron jobs on the clients scping from the server[2]. The other day I reconfigured a batch of our servers so they mail the sysadmin team with the results of cron, and ended up flooding my colleagues with 4 days of errors from cron jobs failing at 5 minute intervals from several machines. Even worse I managed to send myself 4 years of back mail from one server.

Now, mailman, does things on a regular basis by adding to the crontab. I got a mail today from a user who was apparently not getting his mailman digests (only just signed up), but got some direct responses, so knows his post was successful, and there was blatantly traffic happening. Imagine my surprise when I discover that the mailman cron jobs are nowhere to be found. Oh the irony, that 'cron job' Bob of all people would forget the cron jobs for mailman. Admittedly this was a Solaris install, so the init script wasn't dealing with them automaticlly.

[1]And the reason the LDAP server was grinding to a halt... A cron job to keep two ous in sync was going bananas and stealing all the memory, swap and CPU time. *bangs head against wall*
[2] And yes this does mean that if you got root on one of the client servers (this included a number of desktop machines) then you got root on the entire department system.
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