Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

        The format shown in is not
allowed by the current standards.  The standards say that entries in
crontab files are of three types:
1.  Blank lines  (i.e., spaces and tabs only terminated by a newline)
2.  Comment lines (i.e., lines whose first non-blank character is '#')
3.  The standard 6 field crontab entry specifying the minute, hour, day
    of month, month of year, day of week, and command to be executed by
    the shell.
So, lines like:
are not allowed.
        But, since lines like:
# TZ=US/Pacific
are allowed by the standard, you can do the same thing in a manner
compatible with the standard.
        For the record, I have also seen suggestions lately that $SHELL
should affect the shell used to run cron jobs.  The standard also says
that this is not allowed.  The values of $HOME, $LOGNAME, $PATH, $SHELL
and, although not explicitly mentioned, $TZ in the environment
inherited by crontab are not allowed to be used by default.  But this
can be done and still meet standards requirements by using
implementation specific extensions such as command line options.  I.e.,
the standard allows for option to be specified when crontab is invoked
to add a cron job.  So, something like:
                crontab [-H HOME_value] [-L LOGNAME_value] \
                        [-P PATH_value] [-S SHELL_value] \
                        [-T TZ_value] [file]
would be legal and the values specified could be stored as comments in
the crontab file.
        Note also that a lot of this can be done today with no changes
to cron or crontab.  You can set TZ in the environment of the command
to be executed using the following form:
* 8 * * * TZ=US/Eastern date > /tmp/out8
which will write a date stamp to the console every minute of the 8
o'clock hour of the local timezone displayed with US Eastern Time Zone
time stamps.  It is trickier when using subshells as in your example
where you would have to use:
* 8 * * * TZ=US/Eastern;export TZ;(/usr/bin/date ; /usr/bin/date -u) > 
if you're using /usr/bin/crontab to add the job.  /usr/bin/crontab uses
a SVID3 compatible shell which does not support variable assignment in
an export statement.  If you're using /usr/xpg4/bin/crontab or
/usr/xpg6/bin/crontab, the same crontab entry could be written as:
* 8 * * * export TZ=US/Eastern;(/usr/bin/date ; /usr/bin/date -u) > 
        Whether you would want to use this form obviously depends on
whether you want the time at which the command will be executed and the
output of commands run to be controlled by the alternate TZ setting, or
you just want the output of the commands run to be controlled by the
alternate TZ setting.


>Return-Path: <roland.mainz at>
>Date: Sat, 10 Feb 2007 00:57:00 +0100
>From: Roland Mainz <roland.mainz at>
>Subject: Re: [request-sponsor] request sponsor for 6518038: cron & 
crontabshould support multiple timezones
>To: Darren J Moffat <Darren.Moffat at>
>Cc: Chris Gerhard <chris at>, request-sponsor at 
>, Don 
Cragun <don.cragun at>
>MIME-version: 1.0
>Content-transfer-encoding: 7BIT
>X-Accept-Language: en
>Darren J Moffat wrote:
>> Chris Gerhard wrote:
>> > I have a working prototype which I have documented here:
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> > Since this is not part of my day job, I'm requesting a sponsor despite
>> > being a Sun employee so I can do this on my own time.
>> Chris is local to me (physically and timezone :-) I hope that we can
>> present the full process at a future LOSUG  and given this needs ARC
>> review I'll sponsor the ARC case and the putback for this.
>Two items:
>1. Is it possible to sync with the POSIX people whether the change is
>legal for XPG4/XPG6, please (CC:'ing Don Cragun for that) ?
>2. Somewhere in my queue is support for sub-minute timing in cron...
>would it be usefull to add this in one step with this patch, too ?
>  __ .  . __
> (o.\ \/ /.o) roland.mainz at
>  \__\/\/__/  MPEG specialist, C&&JAVA&&Sun&&Unix programmer
>  /O /==\ O\  TEL +49 641 7950090
> (;O/ \/ \O;)

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