How do I edit
crontab files in FreeBSD?
$ crontab -e # ... I do my thing in vim & :wq "crontab.9ZcXiFaawt" 6L, 203C written crontab: temp file must be edited in place Exit 1
EDITOR=nvi works fine... Linux also seems to work fine...
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The problem is how Vim writes files. By default, it makes a copy of the file and overwrite the original one.
You can observe this with:
# Show the file's inode $ ls -i a 3156153 a # Open file in Vim, :wq # inode changed! $ ls -i a 3155322 a
crontab gets confused by this (see
You need to use
:set backupcopy to
yes to make Vim overwrite the original file:
"yes" make a copy of the file and overwrite the original one
You can do this automatically for crontab files with:
au FileType crontab setlocal bkc=yes
@Martin's self-answer is correct. A variation though, for people like myself who try to limit populating their
vimrc file with occasional exceptions -- here editing a crontab, is to use modelines. This allows to place the exceptions directly in the target file.
Below is my crontab modeline:
# vim: nu et tw=130 ts=8 sts=4 sw=4 ff=unix fo-=l fo+=tcroq2 bkc=yes
The important bit here is the
bkc=yes which matches @Martin's
vimrc configuration. The rest are personal convenience settings.
This said for completeness and food for thought, @Martin's initial answer is the most adequate in the majority of cases.
Not the same error but also happening quite often:
Error detected while processing /root/.vimrc: line 2: E319: Sorry, the command is not available in this version: syntax enable line 7: ...
This error will show up, if you use
vi instead of
vim for crontab.
You need to set the editor of crontab by adding the following code in your
The same happens on OSX. After investigating the problem, I've found it works with plain
vi, but it doesn't work with
So the fix could be:
EDITOR=vi crontab -e
vi is usually linked to
vim (e.g. on OSX) so it's the same thing.
This can be solved by the following line in your vimrc file:
au BufNewFile,BufRead crontab.* set nobackup | set nowritebackup
There is another workaround for this by adding the following lines to .vimrc file:
if $VIM_NOBACKUP set nobackup set nowritebackup endif
and run the command:
VIM_NOBACKUP=1 crontab -e
You may also try to define the following variable:
The reason what this is happening has to do with the way
vi treats backup files.