Backtalk Installation Guide

Part VI: Backtalk Cron Configuration

Version 1.3.29

© 1996-2003 Jan Wolter, Steve Weiss

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The Unix cron program can be configured to automatically run commands periodically. Backtalk doesn't currently make very much use of this, but it is likely to do more in the future, at least in some configurations.

For now, there are two things that you might want to consider installing in your cron table:

Attachment Clean-up
If you have configured Backtalk to allow attachments, it might be useful to periodically run the cleanattach program. The process of posting an item or response with an attachment is actually fairly complex. In some cases it may require a long sequence of HTTP transactions between the user's browser and Backtalk before it is complete. If this process gets interupted, then it is possible that an attachment file may be left laying about on your server with no references to it. Since attachments are sometimes large, this can be a substantial waste of disk space. The cleanattach program looks for and deletes such lost attachments.

If Backtalk was built with attachments enabled, the cleanattach program should have been installed in the Backtalk bin directory. You can just try to remember to run it from time to time, or you can make a crontab entry to run it once a week or so.

Log File Rolling
Backtalk can keep various log files. When this is done, there is always a risk that they will get annoying big. Various tools exist for managing these.

I need to document this someday.

On most Unix systems, the commands 'man crontab' and 'man 5 crontab' will tell you all about how to edit crontabs. A typical procedure would be:

  1. Login to the Backtalk owner account.
  2. Run 'crontab -e' to edit your crontab.
  3. Add a line like:
       0 22 * * 0 /full/path/to/cleanattach
    This would run cleanattach every Sunday at 11:00 pm.
  4. Write out the file

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Next: Part VII: Customization