PERIODIC(8) BSD System Manager's Manual PERIODIC(8)NAMEperiodic — run periodic system functions
SYNOPSISperiodic directory ...
The periodic utility is intended to be called by cron(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.
Perform the standard daily security checks. This is usually
spawned by the daily run.
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 periodic.conf(5).
All remaining script output is delivered based on the value of the
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
/etc/crontab the periodic utility is typically called via
entries in the system default cron(8) table
/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
/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 system crontab should have entries for periodic similar to the fol‐
# do daily/weekly/monthly maintenance
0 2 * * * root periodic daily
0 3 * * 6 root periodic weekly
0 5 1 * * root periodic monthly
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.
SEE ALSOsh(1), crontab(5), periodic.conf(5), cron(8), newsyslog(8)HISTORY
The periodic utility first appeared in FreeBSD 3.0.
Paul Traina ⟨pst@FreeBSD.org⟩
Brian Somers ⟨brian@Awfulhak.org⟩
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