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periodic(8)               BSD System Manager's Manual              periodic(8)


     periodic -- run periodic system functions


     periodic directory ...


     The periodic utility is intended to be called by launchd(8) to execute
     shell scripts located in the specified directory.

     One or more of the following arguments must be specified:

     daily    Perform the standard daily periodic executable run.  This usu-
              ally occurs early in the morning (local time).

     weekly   Perform the standard weekly periodic executable run.  This usu-
              ally occurs very early on Saturday mornings.

     monthly  Perform the standard monthly periodic executable run.  This usu-
              ally occurs on the first day of the month.

     path     An arbitrary directory containing a set of executables to be

     If an argument is an absolute directory name it is used as is, otherwise
     it is searched for under /etc/periodic and any other directories speci-
     fied by the local_periodic setting in periodic.conf(5) (see below).

     The periodic utility will run each executable file in the directory or
     directories specified.  If a file does not have the executable bit set,
     it is silently ignored.

     Each script is required to exit with one of the following values:

     0     The script has produced nothing notable in its output.  The
           <basedir>_show_success variable controls the masking of this out-

     1     The script has produced some notable information in its output.
           The <basedir>_show_info variable controls the masking of this out-

     2     The script has produced some warnings due to invalid configuration
           settings.  The <basedir>_show_badconfig variable controls the mask-
           ing of this output.

     >2    The script has produced output that must not be masked.

     If the relevant variable (where <basedir> is the base directory in which
     the script resides) is set to ``NO'' in periodic.conf, periodic will mask
     the script output.  If the variable is not set to either ``YES'' or
     ``NO'', it will be given a default value as described in

     All remaining script output is delivered based on the value of the
     <basedir>_output setting.

     If this is set to a path name (beginning with a `/' character), output is
     simply logged to that file.  newsyslog(8) knows about the files
     /var/log/daily.log, /var/log/weekly.log and /var/log/monthly.log, and if
     they exist, it will rotate them at the appropriate times.  These are
     therefore good values if you wish to log periodic output.

     If the <basedir>_output value does not begin with a `/' and is not empty,
     it is assumed to contain a list of email addresses, and the output is
     mailed to them.  If <basedir>_show_empty_output is set to ``NO'', then no
     mail will be sent if the output was empty.

     If <basedir>_output is not set or is empty, output is sent to standard


     The periodic utility sets the PATH environment to include all standard
     system directories, but no additional directories, such as
     /usr/local/bin.  If executables are added which depend upon other path
     components, each executable must be responsible for configuring its own
     appropriate environment.


                                  the periodic utility is typically called via
                                  these launchd(8) jobs

     /etc/periodic                the top level directory containing daily,
                                  weekly, and monthly subdirectories which
                                  contain standard system periodic executables

     /etc/defaults/periodic.conf  the periodic.conf system registry contains
                                  variables that control the behaviour of
                                  periodic and the standard daily, weekly, and
                                  monthly scripts

     /etc/periodic.conf           this file contains local overrides for the
                                  default periodic configuration


     Exit status is 0 on success and 1 if the command fails.


     The /etc/defaults/periodic.conf system registry will typically have a
     local_periodic variable reading:


     To log periodic output instead of receiving it as email, add the follow-
     ing lines to /etc/periodic.conf:


     To only see important information from daily periodic jobs, add the fol-
     lowing lines to /etc/periodic.conf:



     The command may fail for one of the following reasons:

     usage: periodic <directory of files to execute>  No directory path argu-
     ment was passed to periodic to specify where the script fragments reside.

     <directory> not found  Self explanatory.


     sh(1), periodic.conf(5), launchd(8), newsyslog(8)


     The periodic utility first appeared in FreeBSD 3.0.


     Paul Traina <>
     Brian Somers <>


     Since one specifies information about a directory using shell variables
     containing the string, <basedir>, <basedir> must only contain characters
     that are valid within a sh(1) variable name, alphanumerics and under-
     scores, and the first character may not be numeric.

BSD                             August 30, 2007                            BSD

Mac OS X 10.8 - Generated Tue Sep 4 07:57:13 CDT 2012
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