crontab stopped working

Adrian Dobrota
Adrian Dobrota used Ask the Experts™
Crontab jobs used to work fine, but stopped working at a certain (random) moment.
Any hints, please shoot.
Below I'll show what happens:

root@backup:/backup# cat /etc/issue
Ubuntu 8.04.1 \n \l

root@backup:/backup# uname -a
Linux backup 2.6.24-19-server #1 SMP Wed Aug 20 23:54:28 UTC 2008 i686 GNU/Linux
root@backup:/backup# ps -ax | grep cron
Warning: bad ps syntax, perhaps a bogus '-'? See
  629 ?        Ss     0:00 /usr/sbin/cron
  692 pts/1    S+     0:00 grep cron
root@backup:/backup# crontab -l
# m h  dom mon dow   command
* * * * *   root   /backup/backup
root@backup:/backup# date
Thu Apr 22 11:49:42 EDT 2010
root@backup:/backup# ls -lut /backup/backup
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 3302 2010-04-21 12:11 /backup/backup

As you can see, on an Ubuntu 8.04 server crontab is started (I restarted it a few times, even rebooted the machine), a job is called every minute (for testing purposes only, normally it should start once a day), however something's not working properly, as the file /backup/backup was not accessed since yesterday (you can see the dates). And yesterday I ran it manually.

Any ideas?
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* * * * *   root   /backup/backup

The word 'root' is unnecessary here. It is needed in /etc/crontab only.
'crontab -l' shows the crontab for current user. 'crontab -l -u foo' shows the crontab for user 'foo'.
Adrian DobrotaNetworking Engineer


Thank you tty2, stupid mistake by my side, easy points for you :)

The problem is solved, only one question remains: why did this stop working at a certain point? I used to have this syntax (with user specified IE root ) for ages and it worked before. Maybe an update from cron? I guess that's the explanation.

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