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4.4.2. The sleep command

The Info page on sleep is probably one of the shortest there is. All sleep does is wait. By default the time to wait is expressed in seconds.

So why does it exist? Some practical examples:

Somebody calls you on the phone, you say "Yes I'll be with you in half an hour" but you're about drowned in work as it is and bound to forget your lunch:

(sleep 1800; echo "Lunch time..") &

When you can't use the at command for some reason, it's five o'clock, you want to go home but there's still work to do and right now somebody is eating system resources:

(sleep 10000; myprogram) &

Make sure there's an auto-logout on your system, and that you log out or lock your desktop/office when submitting this kind of job, or run it in a screen session.

When you run a series of printouts of large files, but you want other users to be able to print in between:

lp lotoftext; sleep 900; lp hugefile; sleep 900; lp anotherlargefile

Printing files is discussed in Chapter 8.

Programmers often use the sleep command to halt script or program execution for a certain time.

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