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I would like to set up a scheduled task via anacron but I would like to do so in user mode. How can I achieve this?

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If you want the task to run in user mode, you can do what i did and just prepend sudo -u <user> before the task in anacrontab – Karthik T May 20 '14 at 14:34
up vote 18 down vote accepted

You can set up a separate anacron instance to run in user mode:

  1. Create a .anacron folder in your home directory and in it two subfolders, etc and spool.

  2. Create a new anacrontab under ~/.anacron/etc with contents similar to the following:

    # /etc/anacrontab: configuration file for anacron
    # See anacron(8) and anacrontab(5) for details.
    # period  delay  job-identifier  command
    1         10     testjob
  3. Add the following line to your ~/.profile:

    /usr/sbin/anacron -s -t ${HOME}/.anacron/etc/anacrontab -S ${HOME}/.anacron/spool

Your user mode anacron should be up and running on next login.

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Just to confirm, this runs the specified script as the user, so a whoami in the script will give the user name? – Christoph Mar 2 '14 at 19:50
hm yeah, on further inspection I don't see why not... – Christoph Mar 2 '14 at 20:12
I think you need to run anacron periodically; it seems to run once then quit. The system's anacron is called once every hour. I suppose a similar strategy would work here, i.e. call the user anacron from the user crontab. – Sparhawk Nov 3 '15 at 3:00
@Sparhawk agreed, in particular Ubuntu 15.10 anacron uses both /etc/apm/event.d/anacron and /etc/init/anacron.conf to take care of restarts. – Ciro Santilli 巴拿馬文件 六四事件 法轮功 Dec 9 '15 at 21:53

This worked for me (thanks), but I didn't use the last step given in the answer:

Then add the following line to your ~/.profile:

I'm using Ubuntu Studio 12.10 Quantal and in my case instead of that last step I put that one liner here: “Applications Menu” → “Settings” → “Settings Manager” then in the Settings Manager under “Session and Startup” then the “Application Autostart” tab.

This is for those of us that are GUI users, because ~/.profile is only sourced by bash when it starts a log-in interactive shell (even ~/bashrc is not so useful since that is only sourced when bash is starting an interactive shell).

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Mmh, I am a GUI user myself and the line in .profile has always worked fine for me (Ubuntu 12.04 here). – Glutanimate Sep 12 '13 at 14:33

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