I'd like to start a long running script via SSH and immediately return. Afterwards, I want to check the remote host every 5 minutes to see if the job is done.

In order to accomplish the first part, I used this trick:

ssh root@remoteserver 'TMP_FILE=$(mktemp --tmpdir backup.XXXXXXXXXX.log) && (/root/backup.sh </dev/null > $TMP_FILE 2>&1 &) && echo $TMP_FILE'

Now, for the second part, since backup.sh can be any script, I'd like to append something like DONE_$TMP_FILE to the file pointed to by $TMP_FILE when backup.sh terminates and, every 5 minutes, run this command:

ssh root@remoteserver 'tail -1 $TMP_FILE'

to see if the last line is equal to DONE_$TMP_FILE.

The problem is that I can't manage to detach from a composite command:

ssh root@remoteserver 'TMP_FILE=$(mktemp --tmpdir backup.XXXXXXXXXX.log) && (/root/backup.sh </dev/null > $TMP_FILE 2>&1 && echo DONE_$TMP_FILE >> $TMP_FILE &) && echo $TMP_FILE'

The above command will simply block until backup.sh finishes running.

Is there any way to detach from a sequence of commands without placing them in a wrapper shell script?

If there is any better way of doing this, I'd love to hear it. Ideally, I shouldn't need to create any auxiliary shell scripts.

1 Answer 1


It turns out the solution is easier than I thought:

ssh root@remoteserver 'TMP_FILE=$(mktemp --tmpdir backup.XXXXXXXXXX.log) && ((/root/backup.sh && echo DONE_$TMP_FILE) </dev/null > $TMP_FILE 2>&1 &) && echo $TMP_FILE'

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