Chapter 20. The Bering "mail" and "cron" facilities

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Revision 0.52002-10-20EW
initial revision

Table of Contents

The mail command


This section should be an help to use two special features of your LEAF Bering box namely the mail and cron facilities.

This document is maintained by Eric Wolzak .

The mail command

In the Bering root.lrp there is a mail command, which is one of the "POSIXness" script files. With this command you can send emails typed directly from the console or written as files. You can also send file attachment.


This command can only be used to send mail and differs substantially from the "real" linux mail command. In particular you cannot edit (read, delete, ..) mail from the firewall. As an alternative to this simple mail program you can use a real mailer program like qmail

The syntax of the Bering mail command is:

# mail
Usage: mail options to[,...]
Options: [-s subject] [-c cc[,...]] [-b bcc[,...]]
         [-a attachment[,...]] [-d domain] [-h smptserver]
  • -a attach text file(s)

  • -d specify from FQDN, overriding local domain

  • -h specify SMTP server, overriding the MAIL_SERVER setting

  • -v verbose

Mail default settings are set in /etc/POSIXness.conf. Please refer to the Bering installation guide (System configuration section) for detailed instructions about default mail parameters

Through the System Configuration menu choose the (2) POSIXness Configuration entry. You will then be able to set the following options:

  • MAIL_SERVER: this is the SMTP server where mail is sending its mail to (e.g.MAIL_SERVER="")

  • MAIL_DOMAIN: this is the domain which will be shown in the from list (e.g. MAIL_DOMAIN="" the FROM line will then be

  • USER: this is the user you will use as the "part" before the @ sign for If you don't set a name here then the mail will be sent with the user the mail command is evoked or defaulting to root.If USER="john.doe", then your mail will be from:


Be careful about the MAIL_DOMAIN definition as lots of smtp servers will refuse mails with a name they cannot resolve to a valid IP. Others refuse to relay mails that cannot be delivered locally.

To mail a message to someone edit a file with the editor (e.g. ae message), type your text and save the message file. Then to send your message:

cat message | mail -s "I want to tell you" to

or as an attachement:

mail -s "I want to send you" -a "message" to

You can also type your mail directly from the console:

mail -s "I want to send you" to

Once you hit return, the console will wait for a message to be typed in. Once you have finished with your message input, type CTRL-D.

To mail the log and alerts files to the Bering box admin, set lrp_MAIL_ADMIN to the email address you want your logfiles sent to you. This parameter is found in the Master LRP settings entry of the System configuration menu


To be able to send mail from the firewall, you will need to open port TCP/25 of the firewall. In the shorewall rules file you will need to include the following statement:

ACCEPT		fw	net	25	tcp


The cronjobs are executed according to the entries defined in the directories /etc/cron.d/ (every minute), /etc/cron.daily (every day), /etc/cron.weekly and /etc/cron.monthly.The most important part to add things to is probably /etc/cron.d. The syntax is the standard syntax as is read in man cron and crontab.

#Periodic schedule for multicron. (Ping check, Space check, etc)
#Default: Every 15 minutes
*/15    * * * * root    /etc/multicron-p
*       * * * * root    /bin/date >>/tmp/tijd
*/2     * * * * root    /bin/beep -f 1200

In this example multicron-p is executed every fifteen minutes, date every minute etc. After changing the cronjob is updated automatically. You can verify this with

# tail -f /var/log/syslog
Aug 18 09:15:01 firewall /USR/SBIN/CRON[28891]: (root) CMD (/etc/multicron-p)
Aug 18 09:16:01 firewall /USR/SBIN/CRON[9097]: (root) CMD (/bin/beep)
Aug 18 09:16:01 firewall /USR/SBIN/CRON[29944]: (root) CMD (/bin/date >>/tmp/tijd)
Aug 18 09:16:01 firewall /usr/sbin/cron[1774]: (*system*multicron) RELOAD(/etc/cron.d/multicron)

Important is that you have one empty line after the last entry in the cron file. You can edit the multicron file as above or (probably a better idea) insert a new file with the syntax as before for each additional purpose.

An example for this could be:

#ls /etc/cron.d
-rw-r--r--    1 root     root          211 Aug 18 09:15 multicron
-rw-r--r--    1 root     root           93 Aug 18 09:13 closewindows
-rw-r--r--    1 root     root           80 Aug 17 08:12 md5sumfiles