directing output in crontab

Chris at
Tue Jul 22 15:48:57 MDT 2008

On Tue, Jul 22, 2008 at 3:37 PM, Wade Preston Shearer
<lists at> wrote:
> In my cron tab, I was using &> to direct output to /dev/null. I want to make
> sure I understand the synxtax. I was told that 1> and 2> could be used to
> redirect more specifically; 1> being the output and 2> being errors. Is that
> correct? Does &> catch both?, so the only reason to use 1> and 2> would be
> if I want the two types to go to two different log files?

The available redirection operators depend on which shell your cron
program uses to execute commands.  Once upon a time, /bin/sh was the
standard shell for such tasks.  I don't know if newer cron variants
stick to that convention.

For /bin/sh, the typical syntax to send stderr to the same place as
stdout is "2>&1".  That form basically says: dup the current stdout
descriptor onto stderr, which has one important caveat: the order of
redirection operators matters.  As described in the sh man page,
">file1 2>&1" doesn't do the same thing as "2>&1 >file1" because in
the former stdout is redirected before stderr is duped whereas in the
latter stderr is sent to the previous stdout (before stdout was


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