SUMMARY : Deleting old print jobs

From: Niall O Broin (
Date: Fri Oct 23 1998 - 02:31:45 CDT

Well that generated some interest and a lot of suggestions, some of
them even useful :-) For those of who came in late, I needed to delete
old spooled print jobs, so I needed a way of finding files which are
> XX minutes old. Nobody had a fully correct shell solution, because
I can't ignore times around midnight (the ground stations could be in
use at any time, and the machines are all set to Zulu time so midnight
is relative ;-) ) and I can't ignore the possibility of files being
24/48 . . hours and some minutes old either.

Kevin Sheehan's (I gather from the address that you've left Oz now ?)
suggestion of using

date "+%y %M %d %H %M"

whose output could be used with awk to get a "Julian minutes :-)" type
of value made me realise that I could do it with a pure shell solution
but it just sounded like a drag - having got that value, I'd need to get
it for each spooled file, so I'd need at least a table driven conversion
from ls -l output's three character month names to a month number and
then I'd have to handle files > 6 months old, where the ls -l output
changes format (surely that wouldn't happen, I hear you say. Well, there
could be jobs spooled and then there might be a problem with the Sun WS
and it might be replaced by a spare and then brought back into service
some considerable time later and . . . - yes, I'm paranoid, and if you
worked here, you would be too :-) )

To cut a long story short, there were some suggestions involving gdate
which can apparently generate a drifted date output, but the prize goes
to Michael Wang ( whose succinct answer was
gnu's find -mmin option

If I've to install something besides my script, I might as well use the
solution which maximally simplifies my script. What's galling is that I
use gnu find everyday - it's in my /usr/local/bin which is early in my path.
However, it's been here forever i.e. I didn't install it and I didn't know
it was GNU find and its bloody man page isn't here, so whilst re-reading
find's man page for a solution I of course didn't come across this.

So, now I just have to implement it !

Thanks Michael, and to the other valiant attempts from

Aaron Lineberger <>
Peter Polasek <>
Jochen Bern <>
Rich Kulawiec <> (Kevin Sheehan - Uniq)
Mark Greenhalgh <>
Daniel Lorenzini <>
Karl Vogel <>

Kindest regards,

Niall O Broin

UNIX Network Administrator
Ground Systems Engineering Department Ph./Fax +49 6151 90 3619/2179
European Space Operations Centre, Darmstadt, Germany

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