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I have a crontab which launches tmux-launching-script as follows :

-sh-3.00# crontab -l
@reboot /root/scripts/tmux_autostart.sh


# setup tmux session

tmux new -d -s my_session

but when the system boots I don't have my regular prompt but shell prompt :


how to change it to bash if I already have this in my config .tmux.conf

set-option -g default-shell /bin/bash


-sh-3.00# cat /etc/crontab

# run-parts
01 * * * * root run-parts /etc/cron.hourly
02 4 * * * root run-parts /etc/cron.daily
22 4 * * 0 root run-parts /etc/cron.weekly
42 4 1 * * root run-parts /etc/cron.monthly
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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Your @reboot job is in root's crontab. The variables set in a crontab only apply in this crontab, so the settings in /etc/crontab have no influence on the job executed by root's crontab.

The default shell in Cron is /bin/sh, and the SHELL environment variable is set to /bin/sh unless overridden. So Tmux starts with SHELL=/bin/sh.

It appears that your /bin/sh is Bash 3.00. The prompt indicates that bash was started as a login shell, and that no initialization file set PS1 (there was probably no initialization file at all).

If you set default-shell in ~/.tmux.conf, this takes precedence over the SHELL environment variable. I suspect you aren't showing .tmux.conf in root's home directory but in some other location, maybe your own home directory.

You have a choice of setting SHELL=/bin/bash in root's crontab, or writing a .tmux.conf file in root's home directory.

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Instead of doing this as a @reboot, what if you restructured things slightly so that it was say every few minutes, and did a check to see if tmux was already running, if not, then call your tmux_autostart.sh.


Every 5 minutes run to see if tmux_autostart.sh is running. For starters a test like this will see if tmux_autostart.sh is up:

# down
$ ps -eaf|grep -q "[t]mux_autostart.sh"
$ echo $?

# up
$ ps -eaf|grep -q "[t]mux_autostart.sh"
$ echo $?

We can then use this above test like so in our cron:

*/5 * * * *  ps -eaf|grep -q "[t]mux_autostart.sh" && /root/scripts/tmux_autostart.sh


If you're only interested in starting this up when you login I believe you could put your script in the file $HOME/.xintrc. Then it will run when you login.

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Besides running a crontab every few minutes being a horrible way to run something at boot time (why do I sometimes not find my tmux session when I log in shortly after boot? Why is my disk waking up every 5 minutes?), how is it supposed to help? Whether it's */5 * * * * or @reboot doesn't change the value of SHELL or HOME. – Gilles Jun 7 '13 at 0:38
@Gilles - is it a optimal solution? Of course not, but so what if something like a ps | grep runs every five minutes. Modern day systems can "handle" it. Also the OP shows crontab -l, which I see has a hash prompt #, so maybe it's root, but my experience says a crontab -l is typically a user's crontab entry. In those I would expect them to run as the user so I would expect the SHELL and HOME to be set for them then. – slm Jun 7 '13 at 4:47
My point is that it doesn't matter when the crontab entry runs anyway, changing from @reboot to a time won't fix his problem. You're working around something that isn't a problem (the use of @crontab) without tackling the real problem (SHELL not set to the expected value, presumably because it's set in /etc/crontab and Patryk expected it to also take efect in user crontabs). – Gilles Jun 7 '13 at 7:37

I think there is one way to do it by using such a cronjob:

@reboot . $HOME/profile; /root/scripts/tmux_autostart.sh
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