batch - run commands at specified time(s)


batch [ options ] [ job ... | time ... ]


batch is the command interface to the at daemon. It submits commands to be executed at a future time, lists queue status, and controls the daemon.

Options that refer to specific jobs interpret the operands as job ids, otherwise if the --time option is not specified then the operands are interpreted as the start time. If time is not specified then the command is scheduled to be executed immediately, subject to the queue constraints.

If --time is specified then the first non-option argument is the command to be executed, otherwise the command to be executed is read from the standard input. The command job id is written to the standard output after the command has been successfully submitted to the daemon.


-a, --access

Check queue access and exit.
-f, --file=file

file is a script to be run at the specified time.
-h, --label|heading=string

Set the job label to string.
-i, --info

List queue information and exit.
-l, --list

List queue jobs and exit.
-m, --mail

Send mail when the command completes.
-n, --exec

Execute the command. --noexec shows what would be done but does not execute. On by default; -n means --noexec.
-p, --status

List detailed queue status.
-q, --queue=queue

Send request to queue. Standard queues are:
The at(1) queue.
The batch(1) queue.
The cron(1) queue.
-r, --remove

Remove command named by the job ... operands from the queue.
-s, --service=path

Connect to the cs(1) service path . The default value is /dev/tcp/local/at.
-t, --time|date=time

Schedule the command to be run at time. Most common date formats are accepted. The keyword every can be combined with date parts to specify repeat executions, e.g., every Monday. The default value is now.
-u, --user

List the per user queue information. Requires sufficient privilege to view the status of other users.
-A, --admin

Enable administrative actions. Requires sufficient privilege.
-D, --debug=[level][file]

Enable at daemon debug tracing to file at debug level level . Higher levels produce more output. Requires sufficient privilege.
-L, --log

Write the log file path name on the standard output and exit. The log file is renamed with a .old suffix at the beginning of each month and a new log file started.
-Q, --quit

Terminate the at daemon. Requires sufficient privilege.
-U, --update[=queuedef]

Causes the at daemon to do a schedule update and re-read the queue definition file if it has changed from the last time it was read. If queuedef is specified then it is interpreted as a queue definition file line. See QUEUE DEFINITIONS below. Requires sufficient privilege. The option value may be omitted.


(NOTE: the nroff(1) style syntax is taken from X/Open). The queue definition file defines queue attributes, one queue per line. Lines starting with # are comments. The format of a definition line is: name.[numberattribute]..., where name is a single letter queue name and number applies to the following single character attribute. If number is omitted then it defaults to 1. The default queues are: a.4j1n2u, b.2j2n90w2u, c.h8j2u60w. Per-queue user access may be specified by appending a space separated user names after the queue attributes. If the first list element is + then the list specifies users allowed to use the queue; othewise it specifies users denied access to the queue. If no user list is specified then queue access is controlled by the global files described in QUEUE ACCESS below. The attributes are:
The job environment is initialized to contain at least the HOME, LOGNAME, USER, PATH and SHELL of the submitting user. The jobs are also run in the user HOME directory.
The total number of running jobs for all queues is limited to number.
No new jobs will be run until the load average is smaller than number. This only works on systems where the load average is easily determined.
The default nice(1) priority is set to number.
The per-user running job limit is set to number.
At least number seconds will elapse before the next job from the queue is run.


The user root may submit jobs to all queues. If a queue definition does not specify a user access list then the queue access is controlled by the default access files in this order:
If the directory /usr/lib/cron does not exist then job access is granted to all users.
If the file /usr/lib/cron/at.allow exists then access is granted only to user names listed in this file, one name per line.
If the file /usr/lib/cron/at.deny exists then access is denied to user names listed in this file, one name per line.
Otherwise access is denied to all users but root.



The default queue definition file.

The default queue access files.


batch(1), crontab(1), nice(1), sh(1)



at (AT&T Research) 2000-05-09

Glenn Fowler <>

Copyright © 1996-2012 AT&T Intellectual Property