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I want a computer (Debian, XFCE) to shutdown every day at

  1. a specific time as well as
  2. a pop-up window in advance telling about the immanent shutdown with, say OK, Skip and Delay 60 min buttons.

I noticed xmessage being installed and it gives an easy way to handle rudimentary pop-ups with defined buttons. But the workaround with sed on the crontab (to alter the event) and service cron reload (with the appropriate rights in /etc/sudoers) with all the exceptions I have to capture seems too fiddly.

Any ideas?

P.s.: shutdown's own messages are not being read since the users are usually not on the terminal.

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I think you should consider a slightly different approach: instead of using cron for a shutdown, use cron to display a message with xmessage.

Then, after the actions (if any) taken from xmessage events (buttons pressed or not), you initiate a shutdown.

In other words:

  • at a certain time, display xmessage via cron
  • if no action is taken (button pressed) after a certain time - shutdown
  • if button is pressed, delay shutdown with whatever time.

I wrote something similar to your needs in this thread.

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