I have a bash file which runs a process on a series of newly downloaded files, every day, the total run time for all the processing is several hours.

I want to run a particular bash command 24 hours after a process has been run on a particular file.

I had tried to use at for this, however I don't think you can use at to run a bash command i.e.:

at now +24 hours gsutil rm gs://$google_cloud_storage_location/$processed_file

And I also can't get it to run a bash script with arguments.

at now +24 hours -f example_script.bash $google_cloud_storage_location/$processed_file

What is the correct way to go about scheduling these tasks? Do I just need a completely different tool or am I missing a way with at?

Example bash script:

for file in list_of_files; do
    #do some processing
    #then delete the file
    at now +24 hours gsutil rm gs://file
  • How about at now +24 hours /usr/local/bin/doit, and begin /usr/local/bin/doit with #!/bin/bash, followed by what you want? – waltinator Dec 20 '16 at 0:52
  • @waltinator So I have a loop in by bash file which is running this code and if I don't provide it with the variable then, I'm not sure how I get it to delete the correct file. How I do provide the variable in that example? – Dominic Woodman Dec 20 '16 at 0:55
  • 2
    I think you need to pass the command to at via stdin - either something like echo "command <args>" | at now +24 hours, or by using a heredoc at now +24 hours << EOD; command <args>; EOD – steeldriver Dec 20 '16 at 1:02
  • @steeldriver aaah spot on - pushing the commands through echo worked like charm. if you want post a full answer so I can mark as correct or I can write up myself – Dominic Woodman Dec 20 '16 at 1:06

If you want your variables to be substituted at the time of setting the job up, you can accomplish running a simple bash command with at by simply piping the command to at with echo. For your first example, the syntax would be

echo "gsutil rm gs://$google_cloud_storage_location/$processed_file" | at now +24 hours

For the second example, the syntax could be

echo "/path/to/example_script.bash $google_cloud_storage_location/$processed_file" | at now +24 hours

If the variable substitution needs to be performed at the time of the job, it is a bit trickier. You will need to create a script that runs when the job is to be done, substituting at the proper time. This can be done using a command exclusively (e.g. from a script) by doing

echo -e '#!/bin/bash' > /path/to/script


echo '<your command here>' >> /path/to/script

Then the syntax for the at command is

at now +24 hours -f /path/to/script

Of course, the +24 hours part should be adjusted to the proper duration.


Since at reads commands from stdin or from a file:

for file in list_of_files; do
    #do some processing
    #then delete the file
    at now +24 hours <<EOF
gsutil rm gs://"$file"

Using heredocs to provide the commands would work, since variables are expanded in heredocs unless the heredoc marker (EOF, here) is quoted.

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