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Better Scheduler Than Cron?

Cliff posted more than 9 years ago | from the better-than-the-reigning-champion dept.

Unix 66

Chanc_Gorkon asks: "I am looking for an open source job scheduler that is better than cron. I need a scheduler that has dependency checking, preemption (to stop jobs that access the same resources from running at the same time) and -full- logging. Cron e-mails are nice, but I usually end up cleaning them out with out reading. E-mailing the sysadmin -only- when a job does not get kicked off would be the preferable option. I have scoured Freshmeat and Sourceforge and have found nothing that comes close to what I am looking for. Do you guys have some options for me?"

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66 comments

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start writing it (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12515869)

Are you waiting for the Open Source Fairy to leave a better scheduler than cron under your pillow?

Different timezones (2, Interesting)

frickenhell (643246) | more than 9 years ago | (#12515886)

A cron that supports different timezones would be good too. Why hasn't this been done?

Re:Different timezones (0, Troll)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 9 years ago | (#12515926)

Why hasn't this been done?

Did you pay for it? Did you help a project like that with either code or other contributions?

Yes, it would be good to have a more capable daemon, but we are not in a position to demand. The only action we are allowed to take is to contribute if we feel the need for a better tool.

Re:Different timezones (0)

BinLadenMyHero (688544) | more than 9 years ago | (#12516018)

He is not demanding anything, just point out a feature wish.
That, by itself, would be a contribution, even if small, if directed to the cron maintainers.

Re:Different timezones (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12529020)

Trivial... get source for crond and compile it to allow a choice of crontab file locations. Say one per each time zone.

TZ=CST6DST
export TZ
crond -c /etc/cron.d-CST6DST

Of course you would have to modify crontab (command) too.

Each an every UNIX/Linux process can be in a different time zone. Comes in handy when you have one system and east and west coast users sharing the system. See the system default to where it is, set each users profile to where they are.

Lets see Windoze do that.

launchd (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12515925)

Have you looked at launchd, the new all-purpose task control daemon? Don't be put off by the fact that it's from Apple--it's open source, licensed under the APSL, which I believe is GPL-compatible, if you care about that kind of thing. It seems to offer many of the features you want, including task scheduling, preemption control, etc.

Here's the manpage [apple.com] ; here's a tutorial [macgeekery.com] (geared towards OS X developers, unfortunately), and here's John Siracusa's overview of launchd from Ars Technica [arstechnica.com] .

Re:launchd (5, Informative)

DanThe1Man (46872) | more than 9 years ago | (#12515945)

Re:launchd (4, Informative)

kalidasa (577403) | more than 9 years ago | (#12516045)

Somebody mod parent and grandparent up : both are informative. The ars technica article linked in the /. posting above (http://arstechnica.com/reviews/os/macosx-10.4.ars /5 [arstechnica.com] ) is a great introduction to what launchd is.

Re:launchd (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12516353)

I thought APSL wasn't GPL-compatible? It's OSI compatible, but I don't think you can take the APSL code and put it in a GPL product.

Re:launchd (0, Troll)

ignorant_coward (883188) | more than 9 years ago | (#12516752)


I'm waiting for the absense of GPL fanboy trolls, which proves that Slashdot doesn't care about GPL-compatibility, they just like to bitch about Sun.

The FSF website says APSL is not compatible with the GPL. Oh, you don't care, because your iPod is so damn cool.

Whatever.

Re:launchd (1)

Chanc_Gorkon (94133) | more than 9 years ago | (#12620835)

launchd is too new for me to dedicate to a production scheduler. It's also exactly like.....cron. Not what I am looking for.

you could try... (-1, Redundant)

Hes Nikke (237581) | more than 9 years ago | (#12515942)

you could try launchd [apple.com] ....

*dawns a flame retardant jacket*

Re:you could try... (0, Offtopic)

Xetrov (267777) | more than 9 years ago | (#12516049)

heh, 'Apple Open Source'...

I can't even get in the front door.

Re:you could try... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12516085)

For future reference, the word is "don". Dawn is either a woman's name or the thing that happens right after you go to sleep.

Re:you could try... (0, Offtopic)

name773 (696972) | more than 9 years ago | (#12516265)

it's also a brand of dish soap

Re:you could try... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12517537)

And a dessert topping!

Oh wait, that's Shimmer. Nevermind.

Cron (2, Interesting)

MrWa (144753) | more than 9 years ago | (#12515957)

You could start here [gentoo.org] and see if that helps.

Re:Cron (2, Insightful)

BinLadenMyHero (688544) | more than 9 years ago | (#12516047)

He's right.
Cron can do the job. Just learn how to use it, and the other unix tools.

Many of the problems you mentioned can be solved with them.

- For the dependencies, you can use make or a similar tool.

- The emails are only sent if the process write to stderr.
Write a wraper script to call the processes you want, and use the shell redirections to send some log to stderr only in the case you want.

Wrapper? (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 9 years ago | (#12526667)

Better: use a cron that doesn't send email, and just logs. Fcron is one -- it allows you to specify, on a per-job basis, whether you get email at all.

Re:Cron (1)

Chanc_Gorkon (94133) | more than 9 years ago | (#12620927)

The key here is better and less work. I have this ONE thing I would like to do out of 40 million other things I have to do everyday. If I could get something that does this better than cron, it would save me so much time it ain't funny. I don't have the time to write the shit otherwise I would. This is one case where clsoed source has open source beat. With sufficient fundage which I don't have now, I can go out and pop a scheduler in, pop the jobs I want in it and have exactly what I had asked for. There are NO open source projects that compete with this. Make for dependencies? What am I doing? Compiling?? Care to point to examples? Cron doe3s no logging beyond e-mailing the user and this is not enough to pass muster. I don't want ot have to go dig through mail spool or mbox to find out if jobs had finished correctly. Even writing a shitpile of scripts isn't going to do this properly....essentially, your asking me to do what I may end up having to do and that's writing my own scheduler. Even with the scripts and using make like you descirbe here, it's STILL not enough and STILL sucks.

Re:Cron (1)

BinLadenMyHero (688544) | more than 9 years ago | (#12624988)

This is one case where clsoed source has open source beat. With sufficient fundage which I don't have now, I can go out and pop a scheduler in, pop the jobs I want in it and have exactly what I had asked for.

Open source is better for me, and for many with sufficient fundage, but is not, and is not meat to be, better for everyone.

Make for dependencies? What am I doing? Compiling?? Care to point to examples?

Make is for managing a multi-part process with inter-dependencies. Compiling is just the most common use for make. I have used make on a classwork that had to produce a print document with the data from my simulation. I have the many parts of the source code, and the source of the data for the simulation, which produces other data, and also the source for the LaTeX document, which includes the data produced by the simulator. Make takes care of all the dependency for me. I just run 'make' and it does just the steps necessary to produce the PDF output, based on which parts of the source was modified.

I don't want ot have to go dig through mail spool or mbox to find out if jobs had finished correctly.

Cron is meant to send email only if the job has NOT finished correctly. That is what the wraper scripts I mentioned before are for.

Even with the scripts and using make like you descirbe here, it's STILL not enough and STILL sucks.

Wrong. It IS enough, and IS (for me) much better than anything else. Just because I am in the control of everything.

That's why this solution is better for me, but not for you. You don't want to be in control, you just want it to work somehow.

Re:Cron (1)

Chanc_Gorkon (94133) | more than 9 years ago | (#12626706)

I don't mind doing some work to get things automated, but scripting 400-500 or more jobs is something I ain't got the time for and neither does anyone who does real work on a production system which is why such schedulers exist. I supposed we will end up buying XiBatch, Autosys or some other scheduler at some point, but I got to do some automation now. Currently, cron has been enough, but I can see the writing on the walls: eventually, cron is not going to be enough. It's kind of like why some people have to use crazy ACL's instead of user groups.....when I have a user says I need this to run on the third sunday of the forth month in the second quarter at 17:00 and run it later when Y program is in the schedule....you see?? How can you script something like this? You can't. Autosys and other schedulers CAN do this for you....which is why I asked the question.

Hey at least this question is better then 90 percent of the ask slashdots where even a Windows user can find the answer with Google.

Re:Cron (2, Informative)

Goo.cc (687626) | more than 9 years ago | (#12518117)

And check out this beatiful crontab from the Gentoo forums:

What's In Your Crontab? [gentoo.org]

Write some scripts (5, Informative)

Jepler (6801) | more than 9 years ago | (#12515986)

You identified some elements that could be written as simple unix scripts.

Serializing cron jobs that access some resource? Use "lockfile". Wrap it with something that claims the necessary locks in the right order, runs the real script, and then removes all the locks.

Only producing output in the case of an error? Write a script that saves output to a temporary file, and then cats the file if the exit value is not "success".

These should both be pretty basic tasks that can be done in shell, python, or perl. And you can take them with you t

Re:Write some scripts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12516652)

Apparently he still hasn't made the shell script that posts his comments on Slashdot correctly.

Re:Write some scripts (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12516868)

Agreed, this kind of stuff is a half-hour project.

Personally I use daemontools + makefiles to do complex scheduled tasks. Just write a makefile that does what you need, then create a run file that does "make -C /dir/with/makefile; sleep 2h". Daemontools will run it over and over again.

Embellish with emailing on failure, keeping logs (multilog is good for that), whatever.

Keep it simple, use plain text and/or the filesystem to do your config, easy stuff.

Re:Write some scripts (1)

Chanc_Gorkon (94133) | more than 9 years ago | (#12621030)

No it's not. How do you get cron to NOT schedule jobs on a holiday? How do you get cron to move the jobs that would have run on the holiday to another day? How do you change your schedule on a dime (emergency closing) to not run your schedule?? Cron can't do any of this easily. I need this to be understandable by more then just myself. Writing scripts and make files to do crap like this is NOT acceptable. I need more power than all of the individual tools combined can give me. I need INTEGRATION. This is NOT simply some systems bullshit that has to run every day....this is business required stuff that if the make/bash/perl whatever fails, we loose money. This is running something pretty damn complex in the middle of the night so users don't have to. If I had a YEAR to dedicate to just do job scheduling, I would not be looking fo ra scheduler now would I?

Re:Write some scripts (1)

Chanc_Gorkon (94133) | more than 9 years ago | (#12620843)

While this is a great and doable idea, I need something operator proof. This ain't it. Also, scripts do not have the abilities I ask for. It has to WORK and it has to be EASY to setup. This is non of that. I COULD manage it, but a Operations person who has little programming experience would not be able to decipher what's going on.

Similiar question (2, Informative)

Asgard (60200) | more than 9 years ago | (#12516042)

I asked a similar question here: Open Source Batch Management [slashdot.org]

In Soviet Russia... (1)

I'm not a script, da (638454) | more than 9 years ago | (#12517709)

...similar questions ask of you!

launchd (1)

RalphBNumbers (655475) | more than 9 years ago | (#12516052)

Did we not just have an article about this? [slashdot.org]

IIRC launchd [apple.com] does everything you're asking for (and much much more), although I'm not sure if anyone's ported it to linux yet (knowing /., that's probably an unstated requirement).

Re:launchd (1)

Chanc_Gorkon (94133) | more than 9 years ago | (#12620948)

No, it does not. Launchd does NOT allow me to setup a chain of events that if one in the chain fails, stops and alerts an operator or sysadmin. Launchd is simplye a replacement for cron, init.d and watchdog. Also, launchd JUST came out and unelss I am using a Mac, and I ain't, I would not even attempt to use it on my production server.

You need to write some scripts (3, Insightful)

StarWynd (751816) | more than 9 years ago | (#12516099)

The features you're talking about are really beyond the range of cron or any other "scheduler." The reason cron exists is to allow you to run jobs at a scheduled time. That's it. If you need to ensure that different cron jobs don't conflict with each other, that's a sign that those jobs need to be combined into a single script. A simple shell script wrapper around the jobs can take care of the logic you need. Just call that wrapper from cron and you should be good.

Re:You need to write some scripts (1)

Chanc_Gorkon (94133) | more than 9 years ago | (#12620851)

There are MANY close source schedulers that do exactly as I laid out but they cost mega bucks. CA makes one as do many others. I guess my Ask Slashdot was totally worthless because no one obviously works in a production environment that has a operator watching things. I guess schedulers are not sexy enough.

Re:You need to write some scripts (1)

tpv (155309) | more than 9 years ago | (#12621396)

Or none of us want to write a scheduler just so that you can avoid paying "mega bucks".

A lot of us do know what schedulers do but here's some advice that you won't have to pay "mega bucks" for.

  1. Your ask slashdot article didn't say what you were going to use it for, so all the suggestions to write scripts are perfectly reasonable. Your comments like "Writing scripts and make files to do crap like this is NOT acceptable" don't help your cause. You didn't tell give us enough information up front to help you. Maybe if you said "we want something like autosys but without the price tag" then we wouldn't have wasted our time trying to help you save a few (thousand) bucks.
  2. Everyone here gave their time freely to try and help you. Your responses to them have been childish and totally uncalled for.
  3. You seem to expect that we should all go out and write an open source scheduler just so you don't have to pay for autosys (or control-m, etc). Even more strangely, you seem to think that we should care that you can't get something freely. Here's a tip - we don't. If you want autosys, go buy it.

Re:You need to write some scripts (1)

Chanc_Gorkon (94133) | more than 9 years ago | (#12621827)

Is it my fault you don't know what a scheduler is? No. You call my responses childish? The answers saying use cron in this way are equallly childish as well. If youare actualy a developer who's capable of writing something like a scheduler, then take this down.....I don't care what the hell you think...I have every right to say what I think and ask you what I want. Commercial programmers have to respond to their customers and if open source ever wants to be more successful, it will have to respond to what customers want as well. For as long as thier has been open source, I have a hard time believing that there's someone out ther in open source land that does not think there's a better way to do it then just plain cron.

I thought my answer was clear, but you guys proceeded to tell me oh just use make and blah blah blah.....well, if you had read my post, you would understand that what I was asking for coudl not be done easily with a script.

Re:You need to write some scripts (1)

tpv (155309) | more than 9 years ago | (#12622890)

You asked a question and got some answers. Most of those answers weren't very helpful for you. That much is agreed.
You seem to be saying that anyone who couldn't give you a perfect answer should not say anything at all. Every answer you received was someone going out of their way to offer you the best information that they had. If it wasn't good enough, you just say "Thanks, but that won't be suitable because...".
You're trying to make people wish they hadn't helped you at all, and that ruins this resource for everyone. All those people that tried to help you and got rude responses from you are now much less likely to help someone on slashdot again. Next time I want to ask a question on Slashdot, all those people with slightly imperfect answers will be tempted to stay quiet.

You asked a very specialised question to a very general audience and then were rude to people who, with the best of intentions, gave you advice you couldn't use.
If you stand on the street and ask for medical advice, then you need to be able to filter the responses. It doesn't really make sense to then complain that their advice wasn't right. Asking slashdot about batch control systems is a bit like that. Most people here won't be experts. They'll try to help, and a lot of their advice will be pretty useless, but just accept it as the cost of taking free advice.

if open source ever wants to be more successful, it will have to respond to what customers want as well
Open source isn't a company. It doesn't want anything - least of all the kind of success you refer to.
If there's a company out there trying to produce an open source batch control system, then they really do need to listen to what you want. But I very much doubt that anyone here is doing that. I doubt there is a single person here who has a goal of writing a successful open source batch control system.
You seem to have this idea that there's someone out there trying to produce an open source version of every piece of software ever written. And that open source is somehow a failure if that doesn't happen.

that does not think there's a better way to do it then just plain cron
I definately think there's a better way than cron. But I'm not going to spend my free time writing it just so you can avoid spending money on autosys.

Re:You need to write some scripts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12626482)

I don't think he was being rude and I don't think his question is all that special.

Going out of thier way to post on Slashdot? Please. It's the very LEAST that could have been done. How much effort did you expend? You want a nickel??

What you're asking for... (1)

afabbro (33948) | more than 9 years ago | (#12516248)

...borders on a production control system, a la autosys or control-m. I don't know what's available for free, but perhaps googling for a PCS rather than "cron replacement" would lead you in the right direction.

Re:What you're asking for... (1)

Chanc_Gorkon (94133) | more than 9 years ago | (#12620995)

Possibly. Here's one of the closed source ones we looked at:

http://www.taricon.com/batchfaq.html [taricon.com] (XiBatch)

There's nothing open source that comes close to this. A scheduler like this is very common in Mainframe environments. I very rarely see anything like our mainframe one on UNIX. This one comes close. Production control cnan happen, but I want something to help set this up. I ain't got the time to setup all these little perl, bash , Python and etc crap to help me do the job schedule.

Re:What you're asking for... (1)

Chanc_Gorkon (94133) | more than 9 years ago | (#12621054)

Hate to answer you again, but yes, your correct. Autosys is something we looked at as well. There's nothing I have found thus far that even comes CLOSE to autosys and is open source. Never heard of Control-m. Will have to check it out.

fcron (1)

ignorant_newbie (104175) | more than 9 years ago | (#12516619)

http://fcron.free.fr/ [fcron.free.fr]

Re:fcron (1)

Chanc_Gorkon (94133) | more than 9 years ago | (#12621070)

The ignorant newbie has found something better, but still not exactly what I am looking for.

No brainer (1)

shodson (179450) | more than 9 years ago | (#12516654)

Dude, just use the Task Scheduler [iopus.com] .

Re:No brainer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12620956)

Very frickin funny....not...geesh.....idiots!

Options (3, Informative)

tpv (155309) | more than 9 years ago | (#12516823)

Re:Options (1)

Chanc_Gorkon (94133) | more than 9 years ago | (#12620876)

Looked at ALL of these and many are not what I am asking for. I am asking for a batch job scheduler. Quartz only works for Java programs is what I gather. Most of the others are for cluster scheduling. Thanks for doing what I already DID.

Re:Options (1)

tpv (155309) | more than 9 years ago | (#12621332)

Apart from the fact that it might not be open source (I can't find an actual license anywhere), I think Torque/Maui is exactly what you want.

Yes it can manage across a cluster, but I'm pretty sure you can run it with a single (local) node in the cluster and all jobs with run locally. I haven't tried that, but in theory...

Have a look at the msub command [clusterresources.com]

The syntax is rather weird, but it seems to have everything you wanted. Except I can't quite work out whether it does dependency management. It seems like it should, but I haven't worked out how.

As for Quartz, you didn't actually specify what language you wanted, or how much programming you were willing to do.
Java can call native processes. Quartz has builtin (but poorly documented) support for calling out to the OS to run commands.
It has the foundations to do everything you asked for. Maybe java isn't an option for you, but if you dig a bit, it probably will work.

I am aware that you're after a batch scheduluer, but the thing is, once you get past the cron style schedulers, the next level up tend to have remote job management (etc) so don't let the fact that Torque markets itself as a cluster manager put you off too much. (of course if it really doesn't handle dependencies, then that's a good reason to ditch it)

What you're really asking for is something like Control-M [bmc.com] from BMC software. But it's not open source, and it's not cheap.

Re:Options (1)

Chanc_Gorkon (94133) | more than 9 years ago | (#12621909)

This sounds a little more promising. Maybe I dismissed quartz too soon. I;ll look at these sometime today and see what it looks like. I have heard of torque and I thought it MIGHT be open source and work. This is the kind of answer I was hoping for. It may not work out, but at least it's enough to get me thinking. It's a better response then the slashdotter just use cron in this way answer.

Oy. (0, Redundant)

Farq Fenderson (135583) | more than 9 years ago | (#12517080)

I can't believe that Ask Slashdot caters to people who are too lazy to search Freshmeat.

Re:Oy. (1)

Clinton (798067) | more than 9 years ago | (#12518148)

I can see someone not RTFA, but not reading the description? Wow... the guy even says he did his searching. Pay more attention.

Re:Oy. (1)

Farq Fenderson (135583) | more than 9 years ago | (#12526920)

Yeah, but it's pretty obvious he didn't read the results of the search. There is stuff there. Much to my dismay.

Re:Oy. (1)

Chanc_Gorkon (94133) | more than 9 years ago | (#12627373)

That DO not satisfy what am looking for. Most of the things that Freshmeat kicked back were also quite OLD...as in not worked on in 5 years old.

Let's see the top ten(Search String: Scheduler):

1. jCarnegie class scheduler
A Java class timetable scheduler.
Last updated: 2001

2. Saturn network job scheduler
Status: Saturn first pre-release. Although not ready for production (not something I can reccomend then)
Last updated: Last Month

3. PULSAR J2EE Scheduler
A task scheduler for J2EE applications.
Last updated: 2003

4. Entitlement Based Scheduler
A modification of Linux's O(1) CPU scheduler for entitlement based scheduling.
Last update: 2004

5. Maui Scheduler
A job scheduler for clusters and supercomputers.
Last update: 2004

6. Ruby Agenda
An Agenda/Scheduler aimed at PDAs.
Last Update: 2001

7. Moab Workload Manager
A cluster scheduler with event, resource, and grid support.
Last Update: 2004

8. fairsched
A fair CPU scheduler for Linux.
Last Update: 2001

9. Quartz Enterprise Job Scheduler
An enterprise-class job scheduler for integration with J2SE and J2EE apps.
Last Update: 2005

10. job-scheduler
A program that schedules programs to be run at specified times.
Last Update: 2004

Of the 10, two are Linux kernel scheduler replacements, one PDA type app, there's alot of J2EE schedulers, cluster/supercomputer schedulers(which it might be possible to make work) and one or two that might work, but are really no better than cron.

That's just ONE search that was done. There are others, but I am not going to waste any more time.

I have spent a good week looking for FOSS alternatives and found none that are close and a couple that COULD work with some time.

Cfengine (1)

latsabb (309118) | more than 9 years ago | (#12517106)

Have you looked at Cfengine?http://www.iu.hio.no/cfengine/ [iu.hio.no]
I believe this can be relevant for you.

Re:Cfengine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12524236)

Yes, cfengine could do pretty exactly what he wants. The cron-like functionality is almost a footnote in the manual, but apart from having somewhat worse temporal resolution (to the nearest 5 mins or so) compared to cron, it is more powerful in every other way.

Yet Another /. Oddity (3, Insightful)

kenp2002 (545495) | more than 9 years ago | (#12520205)

WTF IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE!

What is it with 80% of Slashdot readers? A person asks a question, "What other colors can I paint my bathroom besides white." 80% of the responses run along the lines, "There's nothing wrong with the color white, you just need to coordinate better with the color white." Do recent Slashdot readers and posters not understand how to answer a question?

For Gods sake the guy asks for alternatives to Cron, not a fucking explanation on how Cron can be used to fulfill the criteria. It never ceases to amaze me on the behavior of Slashdot posters.

"I am looking for an open source job scheduler that is better than cron." You'll note it doesn't read, "How do I use Cron to do X." First we had to blast people with RTFA, RTFP, RTFM, RTSYW (Read the shit you write) and any other obscure reference we can invent. This is clearly a case of RTFP.

Honestly who here would be happy walking into a restaurant and ordering a steak only to get a piece of chicken and an 8 minute lecture by the waitress explaining that you just need to season the chicken properly rather then eating steak. When I order a steak I don't want a dissertation by the obviously vegan-hippie waitress on the horrors of animal slaughtering and the need to release cattle into the wild because they're the "Whales of the Great Plains." I want the bitch to ask me if I want it burnt, tough like leather, or crawling away to escape!

How about going to an auto dealership and asking to look at trucks only to be lead to a compact 2 door Yugo with a trailer attached with bungie cords and masking tape! Fuck just answer the poor guy's question.

--- / END RANT ---

Here at my current client's location we built a home-brewed scheduler using PERL and POSTGRES. Jobs can be scheduled with a full range of options including every X minutes, hours, and so on along with LAST DAY OF MONTH. The development time was only about 3 weeks if you can devote that kind of time otherwise several people (Who apparently do know how to answer a question) have posted some great links on some alternatives.

Re:Yet Another /. Oddity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12521445)

While that's an excellent rant, and applicable in many cases, technical questions aren't in the same category as questions about what color to paint a bathroom. It is frequently the case that novice users give up prematurely on a utility because they don't fully understand its capabilities. In such cases, the best answer, if not the most polite one, to a "looking for an alternative to X" is to explain how and why the overlooked features of X meet the asker's needs after all.

I'm sure even the author of the parent post would give a "just use X in this way"-type response, for instance, if someone asked for "an alternative to {insert name of favorite Unix/Linux shell here} that allows command pipelining" or "an alternative to {insert name of favorite scripting language here} that supports regular expressions".

The optimal solution to all of this, of course, is for askers to clearly explain their requirements and clearly enumerate how they have tried and failed to meet those requirements in product or package X.

Re:Yet Another /. Oddity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12521919)

why not suggest cron, then assume he knows what he is talking about and come up with something else.

all responses should be required to have an alternative if the first part involves saying what the person already doesnt want that "solution"

Re:Yet Another /. Oddity (1)

Chanc_Gorkon (94133) | more than 9 years ago | (#12621101)

I call shenigans on you! This isn't what I am looking for. I like cron and UNDERSTAND it ....do you hear me?? Now follow me....I want soemthing that is human readable, something that recoginises some things don't need run next monday because we're closed and something where I can enmass put the schedule on hold. I also would like it to just log the successful jobs and alerting people on the failures. No amount of playing with cron can get me this without rewriting it into something much more robust.

Re:Yet Another /. Oddity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12521615)

Dude, you need less dopamines.

Re:Yet Another /. Oddity (1)

drn8 (883816) | more than 9 years ago | (#12521688)

Try freecycle.org.

Re:Yet Another /. Oddity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12521760)

I'm curious; what exactly does your expensive scheduling system do that cron does not? 5 minutes of googling found me a solid way to run jobs on the last day of each month with cron and the date command. Takes a little bit of shell glue, but it works. Are you just riding your client's gravy train or what? I can do a lot of useful stuff in 3 weeks when I'm not reimplementing battle-tested systems like cron.

Re:Yet Another /. Oddity (2, Insightful)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 9 years ago | (#12526753)

When you order a steak, you aren't asking for the waitress to lecture you or suggest alternatives, so you have a right to call her vegan/hippie.

When you say "What's good today? I want something that tastes like steak, but is spicy..." then the waitress is answering your question properly when she says "We can put enough spice on the steak to burn your mouth off." She doesn't deserve several dozen rants (also common on Slashdot) about how you said you didn't want steak!

Now, one more thing before I'm done. When you ask a question, you don't ask questions like "How do I use X to do Y?" You ask questions like "How do I do Y? I think you can do it with X." Instead of "How do I do Y without using X?" you say "I'm trying to do Y, and X doesn't seem to be working."

When you are looking for help, you state your question clearly, based on your needs, not your assumptions. 80% of the people on Slashdot can spot those assumptions, but it's still damn annoying.

Re:Yet Another /. Oddity (2, Interesting)

rp (29053) | more than 9 years ago | (#12532143)

I think you have a serious misunderstanding about the medium.

Like Usenet, this is a discussion forum, not a service call center. If you want straight answers to straight questions, *pay* for that right. And as someone else writes, for god's sake don't turn to a geek forum. If you want discussion on what the problem really is and how to best approach it, that;s when you go too Slashdot or some such place, but don't expect to get a direct answer to your question.
In fact, I go to restaurants with a similar attitude. Admittedly, when I go there and say "no pork" I would be annoyed by a waiter insisting that "the chef's pork is the best"" but I wouldn't in the least bit mind to explain the underlying reasons, so the house can serve my needs better. If you want to eat out and not be surprised, go to McDonald's. Thanks.

Re:Yet Another /. Oddity (1)

Chanc_Gorkon (94133) | more than 9 years ago | (#12620901)

You have hit the proverbial nail on the head. Open sourcce needs to grow out of the it's good enough for me it's good enough to run a multi million dollar company/college/whatever stage. Let's face it, cron sucks. Because writing schedulers are not sexy, it's gets put way down on the list if it's even on it. If you want me to use your crap, then you better give me the crap I NEED! I need something better then cron. If I write it, I will make sure to keep the source to myself and my company since cron seems good enough for you guys.

monit (1)

bciceron (661571) | more than 9 years ago | (#12533790)

omnitpotent 'monit' can be configured than way ... and so many others ;-) http://www.tildeslash.com/monit/ [tildeslash.com]
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