AT(1) BSD General Commands Manual AT(1)NAME
at, batch, atq, atrm — queue, examine or delete jobs for later execution
at [-q queue] [-f file] [-mldbv] time
at [-q queue] [-f file] [-mldbv] -t [[CC]YY]MMDDhhmm[.SS]
at -c job [job ...]
at -l [job ...]
at -l -q queue
at -r job [job ...]
atq [-q queue] [-v]
atrm job [job ...]
batch [-q queue] [-f file] [-mv] [time]
The at and batch utilities read commands from standard input or a speci‐
fied file which are to be executed at a later time, using sh(1).
at executes commands at a specified time;
atq lists the user's pending jobs, unless the user is the superuser;
in that case, everybody's jobs are listed;
atrm deletes jobs;
batch executes commands when system load levels permit; in other words,
when the load average drops below _LOADAVG_MX, or the value spec‐
ified in the invocation of atrun.
The at utility allows some moderately complex time specifications. It
accepts times of the form HHMM or HH:MM to run a job at a specific time
of day. (If that time is already past, the next day is assumed.) As an
alternative, the following keywords may be specified: midnight, noon, or
teatime (4pm) and time-of-day may be suffixed with AM or PM for running
in the morning or the evening. The day on which the job is to be run may
also be specified by giving a date in the form month-name day with an
optional year, or giving a date of the forms DD.MM.YYYY, DD.MM.YY,
MM/DD/YYYY, MM/DD/YY, MMDDYYYY, or MMDDYY. The specification of a date
must follow the specification of the time of day. Time can also be spec‐
ified as: [now] + count time-units, where the time-units can be minutes,
hours, days, weeks, months or years and at may be told to run the job
today by suffixing the time with today and to run the job tomorrow by
suffixing the time with tomorrow.
For example, to run a job at 4pm three days from now, use at 4pm + 3
days, to run a job at 10:00am on July 31, use at 10am Jul 31 and to run a
job at 1am tomorrow, use at 1am tomorrow.
The at utility also supports the POSIX time format (see -t option).
For both at and batch, commands are read from standard input or the file
specified with the -f option and executed. The working directory, the
environment (except for the variables TERM, TERMCAP, DISPLAY and _) and
the umask are retained from the time of invocation. An at or batch com‐
mand invoked from a su(1) shell will retain the current userid. The user
will be mailed standard error and standard output from his commands, if
any. Mail will be sent using the command sendmail(8). If at is executed
from a su(1) shell, the owner of the login shell will receive the mail.
The superuser may use these commands in any case. For other users, per‐
mission to use at is determined by the files _PERM_PATH/at.allow and
If the file _PERM_PATH/at.allow exists, only usernames mentioned in it
are allowed to use at. In these two files, a user is considered to be
listed only if the user name has no blank or other characters before it
on its line and a newline character immediately after the name, even at
the end of the file. Other lines are ignored and may be used for com‐
If _PERM_PATH/at.allow does not exist, _PERM_PATH/at.deny is checked,
every username not mentioned in it is then allowed to use at.
If neither exists, only the superuser is allowed use of at. This is the
Note that at is implemented through the cron(8) daemon by calling
atrun(8) every five minutes. This implies that the granularity of at
might not be optimal for every deployment. If a finer granularity is
needed, the system crontab at /etc/crontab needs to be changed.
Use the specified queue. A queue designation consists of a sin‐
gle letter; valid queue designations range from a to z and A to
Z. The _DEFAULT_AT_QUEUE queue is the default for at and the
_DEFAULT_BATCH_QUEUE queue for batch. Queues with higher letters
run with increased niceness. If a job is submitted to a queue
designated with an uppercase letter, it is treated as if it had
been submitted to batch at that time. If atq is given a specific
queue, it will only show jobs pending in that queue.
-m Send mail to the user when the job has completed even if there
was no output.
Read the job from file rather than standard input.
-l With no arguments, list all jobs for the invoking user. If one
or more job numbers are given, list only those jobs.
-d Is an alias for atrm (this option is deprecated; use -r instead).
-b Is an alias for batch.
-v For atq, shows completed but not yet deleted jobs in the queue;
otherwise shows the time the job will be executed.
-c Cat the jobs listed on the command line to standard output.
-r Remove the specified jobs.
-t Specify the job time using the POSIX time format. The argument
should be in the form [[CC]YY]MMDDhhmm[.SS] where each pair of
letters represents the following:
CC The first two digits of the year (the century).
YY The second two digits of the year.
MM The month of the year, from 1 to 12.
DD the day of the month, from 1 to 31.
hh The hour of the day, from 0 to 23.
mm The minute of the hour, from 0 to 59.
SS The second of the minute, from 0 to 61.
If the CC and YY letter pairs are not specified, the values
default to the current year. If the SS letter pair is not speci‐
fied, the value defaults to 0.
_ATJOB_DIR directory containing job files
_ATSPOOL_DIR directory containing output spool files
/var/run/utmp login records
_PERM_PATH/at.allow allow permission control
_PERM_PATH/at.deny deny permission control
_ATJOB_DIR/_LOCKFILE job-creation lock file
SEE ALSOnice(1), sh(1), umask(2), atrun(8), cron(8), sendmail(8)BUGS
If the file /var/run/utmp is not available or corrupted, or if the user
is not logged on at the time at is invoked, the mail is sent to the
userid found in the environment variable LOGNAME. If that is undefined
or empty, the current userid is assumed.
The at and batch utilities as presently implemented are not suitable when
users are competing for resources. If this is the case, another batch
system such as nqs may be more suitable.
Specifying a date past 2038 may not work on some systems.
At was mostly written by Thomas Koenig ⟨firstname.lastname@example.org⟩. The
time parsing routines are by
David Parsons ⟨email@example.com⟩, with minor enhancements by
Joe Halpin ⟨firstname.lastname@example.org⟩.
BSD January 13, 2002 BSD