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3.3 Introduction to Configuration

This section of the manual contains general information about HTCondor configuration, relating to all parts of the HTCondor system. If you're setting up an HTCondor pool, you should read this section before you read the other configuration-related sections:

3.3.1 HTCondor Configuration Files

The HTCondor configuration files are used to customize how HTCondor operates at a given site. The basic configuration as shipped with HTCondor can be used as a starting point, but most likely you will want to modify that configuration to some extent.

Each HTCondor program will, as part of its initialization process, configure itself by calling a library routine which parses the various configuration files that might be used, including pool-wide, platform-specific, and machine-specific configuration files. Environment variables may also contribute to the configuration.

The result of configuration is a list of key/value pairs. Each key is a configuration variable name, and each value is a string literal that may utilize macro substitution (as defined below). Some configuration variables are evaluated by HTCondor as ClassAd expressions; some are not. Consult the documentation for each specific case. Unless otherwise noted, configuration values that are expected to be numeric or boolean constants can be any valid ClassAd expression of operators on constants. Example:

MINUTE          = 60
HOUR            = (60 * $(MINUTE))

3.3.2 Ordered Evaluation to Set the Configuration

Multiple files, as well as a program's environment variables, determine the configuration. The order in which attributes are defined is important, as later definitions override earlier definitions. The order in which the (multiple) configuration files are parsed is designed to ensure the security of the system. Attributes which must be set a specific way must appear in the last file to be parsed. This prevents both the naive and the malicious HTCondor user from subverting the system through its configuration. The order in which items are parsed is:

  1. a single initial configuration file, which has historically been known as the global configuration file (see below);
  2. other configuration files that are referenced and parsed due to specification within the single initial configuration file (these files have historically been known as local configuration files);
  3. if HTCondor daemons are not running as root on Unix platforms, the file $(HOME)/.condor/user_config if it exists, or the file defined by configuration variable USER_CONFIG_FILE;

    if HTCondor daemons are not running as Local System on Windows platforms, the file %USERPROFILE\.condor\user_config if it exists, or the file defined by configuration variable USER_CONFIG_FILE;

  4. specific environment variables whose names are prefixed with _CONDOR_ (note that these environment variables directly define macro name/value pairs, not the names of configuration files).

Some HTCondor tools utilize environment variables to set their configuration; these tools search for specifically-named environment variables. The variable names are prefixed by the string _CONDOR_ or _condor_. The tools strip off the prefix, and utilize what remains as configuration. As the use of environment variables is the last within the ordered evaluation, the environment variable definition is used. The security of the system is not compromised, as only specific variables are considered for definition in this manner, not any environment variables with the _CONDOR_ prefix.

The location of the single initial configuration file differs on Windows from Unix platforms. For Unix platforms, the location of the single initial configuration file starts at the top of the following list. The first file that exists is used, and then remaining possible file locations from this list become irrelevant.

  1. the file specified by the CONDOR_CONFIG environment variable. If there is a problem reading that file, HTCondor will print an error message and exit right away.
  2. /etc/condor/condor_config
  3. /usr/local/etc/condor_config
  4. ~condor/condor_config

For Windows platforms, the location of the single initial configuration file is determined by the contents of the environment variable CONDOR_CONFIG. If this environment variable is not defined, then the location is the registry value of HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/Software/Condor/CONDOR_CONFIG.

The single, initial configuration file may contain the specification of one or more other configuration files, referred to here as local configuration files. Since more than one file may contain a definition of the same variable, and since the last definition of a variable sets the value, the parse order of these local configuration files is fully specified here. In order:

  1. The value of configuration variable LOCAL_CONFIG_DIR lists one or more directories which contain configuration files. The list is parsed from left to right. The leftmost (first) in the list is parsed first. Within each directory, a lexicographical ordering by file name determines the ordering of file consideration.
  2. The value of configuration variable LOCAL_CONFIG_FILE lists one or more configuration files. These listed files are parsed from left to right. The leftmost (first) in the list is parsed first.
  3. If one of these steps changes the value (right hand side) of LOCAL_CONFIG_DIR, then LOCAL_CONFIG_DIR is processed for a second time, using the changed list of directories.

The parsing and use of configuration files may be bypassed by setting environment variable CONDOR_CONFIG with the string ONLY_ENV. With this setting, there is no attempt to locate or read configuration files. This may be useful for testing where the environment contains all needed information.

3.3.3 Configuration File Macros

Macro definitions are of the form:

<macro_name> = <macro_definition>

The macro name given on the left hand side of the definition is a case insensitive identifier. There may be white space between the macro name, the equals sign (=), and the macro definition. The macro definition is a string literal that may utilize macro substitution.

Macro invocations are of the form:

$(macro_name[:<default if macro_name not defined>])

The colon and default are optional in a macro invocation. Macro definitions may contain references to other macros, even ones that are not yet defined, as long as they are eventually defined in the configuration files. All macro expansion is done after all configuration files have been parsed, with the exception of macros that reference themselves.

A = xxx
C = $(A)
is a legal set of macro definitions, and the resulting value of C is xxx. Note that C is actually bound to $(A), not its value.

As a further example,

A = xxx
C = $(A)
A = yyy
is also a legal set of macro definitions, and the resulting value of C is yyy.

A macro may be incrementally defined by invoking itself in its definition. For example,

A = xxx
B = $(A)
A = $(A)yyy
A = $(A)zzz
is a legal set of macro definitions, and the resulting value of A is xxxyyyzzz. Note that invocations of a macro in its own definition are immediately expanded. $(A) is immediately expanded in line 3 of the example. If it were not, then the definition would be impossible to evaluate.

Recursively defined macros such as

A = $(B)
B = $(A)
are not allowed. They create definitions that HTCondor refuses to parse.

A macro invocation where the macro name is not defined results in a substitution of the empty string. Consider the example

If NUMCPUS is not defined, then this macro substitution becomes
The default value may help to avoid this situation. The default value may be a literal
such that if NUMCPUS is not defined, the result of macro substitution becomes
The default may be another macro invocation:
These default specifications are restricted such that a macro invocation with a default can not be nested inside of another default. An alternative way of stating this restriction is that there can only be one colon character per line. The effect of nested defaults can be achieved by placing the macro definitions on separate lines of the configuration.

All entries in a configuration file must have an operator, which will be an equals sign (=). Identifiers are alphanumerics combined with the underscore character, optionally with a subsystem name and a period as a prefix. As a special case, a line without an operator that begins with a left square bracket will be ignored. The following two-line example treats the first line as a comment, and correctly handles the second line.

[HTCondor Settings]
my_classad = [ foo=bar ]

To simplify pool administration, any configuration variable name may be prefixed by a subsystem (see the $(SUBSYSTEM) macro in section 3.3.12 for the list of subsystems) and the period (.) character. For configuration variables defined this way, the value is applied to the specific subsystem. For example, the ports that HTCondor may use can be restricted to a range using the HIGHPORT and LOWPORT configuration variables.

  MASTER.LOWPORT   = 20000

Note that all configuration variables may utilize this syntax, but nonsense configuration variables may result. For example, it makes no sense to define

since the condor_negotiator daemon does not use the MASTER_UPDATE_INTERVAL variable.

It makes little sense to do so, but HTCondor will configure correctly with a definition such as

The condor_master uses this configuration variable, and the prefix of MASTER. causes this configuration to be specific to the condor_master daemon.

As of HTCondor version 8.1.1, evaluation works in the expected manner when combining the definition of a macro with use of a prefix that gives the subsystem name and a period. Consider the example

combined with a later definition that incorporates FILESPEC in a macro:
When the condor_master evaluates variable USEFILE, it evaluates to mydir/B. Previous to HTCondor version 8.1.1, it evaluated to mydir/A. When any other subsystem evaluates variable USEFILE, it evaluates to mydir/A.

This syntax has been further expanded to allow for the specification of a local name on the command line using the command line option

  -local-name <local-name>
This allows multiple instances of a daemon to be run by the same condor_master daemon, each instance with its own local configuration variable.

The ordering used to look up a variable, called <parameter name>:

  1. <subsystem name>.<local name>.<parameter name>

  2. <local name>.<parameter name>

  3. <subsystem name>.<parameter name>

  4. <parameter name>

If this local name is not specified on the command line, numbers 1 and 2 are skipped. As soon as the first match is found, the search is completed, and the corresponding value is used.

This example configures a condor_master to run 2 condor_schedd daemons. The condor_master daemon needs the configuration:

  XYZZY           = $(SCHEDD)
  XYZZY_ARGS      = -local-name xyzzy
  XYZZY_LOG       = $(LOG)/SchedLog.xyzzy

Using this example configuration, the condor_master starts up a second condor_schedd daemon, where this second condor_schedd daemon is passed -local-name xyzzy on the command line.

Continuing the example, configure the condor_schedd daemon named xyzzy. This condor_schedd daemon will share all configuration variable definitions with the other condor_schedd daemon, except for those specified separately.


Note that the example SCHEDD_NAME and SPOOL are specific to the condor_schedd daemon, as opposed to a different daemon such as the condor_startd. Other HTCondor daemons using this feature will have different requirements for which parameters need to be specified individually. This example works for the condor_schedd, and more local configuration can, and likely would be specified.

Also note that each daemon's log file must be specified individually, and in two places: one specification is for use by the condor_master, and the other is for use by the daemon itself. In the example, the XYZZY condor_schedd configuration variable SCHEDD.XYZZY.SCHEDD_LOG definition references the condor_master daemon's XYZZY_LOG.

3.3.4 Comments and Line Continuations

An HTCondor configuration file may contain comments and line continuations. A comment is any line beginning with a pound character (#). A continuation is any entry that continues across multiples lines. Line continuation is accomplished by placing the backslash character ( $\mathtt{\backslash}$) at the end of any line to be continued onto another. Valid examples of line continuation are

  START = (KeyboardIdle > 15 * $(MINUTE)) && \
  ((LoadAvg - CondorLoadAvg) <= 0.3)
  ADMIN_MACHINES =,, \,, \

Where a line continuation character directly precedes a comment, the entire comment line is ignored, and the following line is used in the continuation. Line continuation characters within comments are ignored.

Both this example

  A = $(B) \
  # $(C)
and this example
  A = $(B) \
  # $(C) \
result in the same value for A:
  A = $(B) $(D)

3.3.5 Multi-Line Values

As of version 8.5.6, the value for a macro can comprise multiple lines of text. The syntax for this is as follows:

<macro_name> @=<tag>
<macro_definition lines>

For example:

    requirements=target.WantJobRouter is True;
    MaxIdleJobs = 10;
    MaxJobs = 200;

    /* now modify routed job attributes */
    /* remove routed job if it goes on hold or stays idle for over 6 hours */
    set_PeriodicRemove = JobStatus == 5 ||
                        (JobStatus == 1 && (time() - QDate) > 3600*6);
    delete_WantJobRouter = true;
    set_requirements = true;

Note that in this example, the square brackets are part of the JOB_ROUTER_DEFAULTS value.

3.3.6 Executing a Program to Produce Configuration Macros

Instead of reading from a file, HTCondor can run a program to obtain configuration macros. The vertical bar character (|) as the last character defining a file name provides the syntax necessary to tell HTCondor to run a program. This syntax may only be used in the definition of the CONDOR_CONFIG environment variable, or the LOCAL_CONFIG_FILE configuration variable.

The command line for the program is formed by the characters preceding the vertical bar character. The standard output of the program is parsed as a configuration file would be.

An example:

LOCAL_CONFIG_FILE = /bin/make_the_config|

Program /bin/make_the_config is executed, and its output is the set of configuration macros.

Note that either a program is executed to generate the configuration macros or the configuration is read from one or more files. The syntax uses space characters to separate command line elements, if an executed program produces the configuration macros. Space characters would otherwise separate the list of files. This syntax does not permit distinguishing one from the other, so only one may be specified.

(Note that the include command syntax (see below) is now the preferred way to execute a program to generate configuration macros.)

3.3.7 Including Configuration from Elsewhere

Externally defined configuration can be incorporated using the following syntax:

  include [ifexist] : <file>
  include : <cmdline>|
  include [ifexist] command [into <cache-file>] : <cmdline>

(Note that the ifexist and into options were added in version 8.5.7. Also note that the command option must be specified in order to use the into option - just using the bar after <cmdline> will not work.)

In the file form of the include command, the <file> specification must describe a single file, the contents of which will be parsed and incorporated into the configuration. Unless the ifexist option is specified, the non-existence of the file is a fatal error.

In the command line form of the include command (specified with either the command option or by appending a bar (|) character after the <cmdline> specification), the <cmdline> specification must describe a command line (program and arguments); the command line will be executed, and the output will be parsed and incorporated into the configuration.

If the into option is not used, the command line will be executed every time the configuration file is referenced. This may well be undesirable, and can be avoided by using the into option. The into keyword must be followed by the full pathname of a file into which to write the output of the command line. If that file exists, it will be read and the command line will not be executed. If that file does not exist, the output of the command line will be written into it and then the cache file will be read and incorporated into the configuration. If the command line produces no output, a zero length file will be created. If the command line returns a non-zero exit code, configuration will abort and the cache file will not be created unless the ifexist keyword is also specified.

The include key word is case insensitive. There are no requirements for white space characters surrounding the colon character.

Consider the example

  FILE = config.$(FULL_HOSTNAME)
  include : $(LOCAL_DIR)/$(FILE)
Values are acquired for configuration variables FILE, and LOCAL_DIR by immediate evaluation, causing variable FULL_HOSTNAME to also be immediately evaluated. The resulting value forms a full path and file name. This file is read and parsed. The resulting configuration is incorporated into the current configuration. This resulting configuration may contain further nested include specifications, which are also parsed, evaluated, and incorporated. Levels of nested includes are limited, such that infinite nesting is discovered and thwarted, while still permitting nesting.

Consider the further example

  include : $(RELEASE_DIR)/$(SCRIPT_FILE) |
In this example, the bar character at the end of the line causes a script to be invoked, and the output of the script is incorporated into the current configuration. The same immediate parsing and evaluation occurs in this case as when a file's contents are included.

For pools that are transitioning to using this new syntax in configuration, while still having some tools and daemons with HTCondor versions earlier than 8.1.6, special syntax in the configuration will cause those daemons to fail upon startup, rather than continuing, but incorrectly parsing the new syntax. Newer daemons will ignore the extra syntax. Placing the @ character before the include key word causes the older daemons to fail when they attempt to parse this syntax.

Here is the same example, but with the syntax that causes older daemons to fail when reading it.

  FILE = config.$(FULL_HOSTNAME)
  @include : $(LOCAL_DIR)/$(FILE)
A daemon older than version 8.1.6 will fail to start. Running an older condor_config_val identifies the @include line as being bad. A daemon of HTCondor version 8.1.6 or more recent sees:
  FILE = config.$(FULL_HOSTNAME)
  include : $(LOCAL_DIR)/$(FILE)
and starts up successfully.

Here is an example using the new ifexist and into options:

  # writes "STUFF=1" to stdout
  include ifexist command into $(LOCAL_DIR)/stuff.config : perl $(LOCAL_DIR)/

3.3.8 Reporting Errors and Warnings

As of version 8.5.7, warning and error messages can be included in HTCondor configuration files.

The syntax for warning and error messages is as follows:

  warning : <warning message>
  error : <error message>

The warning and error messages will be printed when the configuration file is used (when almost any HTCondor command is run, for example). Error messages (unlike warnings) will prevent the successful use of the configuration file. This will, for example, prevent a daemon from starting, and prevent condor_config_val from returning a value.

Here's an example of using an error message in a configuration file (combined with some of the new include features documented above):

# writes "STUFF=1" to stdout
include command into $(LOCAL_DIR)/stuff.config : perl $(LOCAL_DIR)/
if ! defined stuff
  error : stuff is needed!

3.3.9 Conditionals in Configuration

Conditional if/else semantics are available in a limited form. The syntax:

  if <simple condition>
     . . .
     . . .

An else key word and statements are not required, such that simple if semantics are implemented. The <simple condition> does not permit compound conditions. It optionally contains the exclamation point character (!) to represent the not operation, followed by

The syntax

  if <simple condition>
     . . .
  elif <simple condition>
     . . .
is the same as syntax
  if <simple condition>
     . . .
     if <simple condition>
        . . .

3.3.10 Function Macros in Configuration

A set of predefined functions increase flexibility. Both submit description files and configuration files are read using the same parser, so these functions may be used in both submit description files and configuration files.

Case is significant in the function's name, so use the same letter case as given in these definitions.

$CHOICE(index, listname) or $CHOICE(index, item1, item2, ...)
An item within the list is returned. The list is represented by a parameter name, or the list items are the parameters. The index parameter determines which item. The first item in the list is at index 0. If the index is out of bounds for the list contents, an error occurs.

Evaluates to the value of environment variable environment-variable-name. If there is no environment variable with that name, Evaluates to UNDEFINED unless the optional :default-value is used; in which case it evaluates to default-value. For example,
  A = $ENV(HOME)
binds A to the value of the HOME environment variable.

One or more of the lower case letters may be combined to form the function name and thus, its functionality. Each letter operates on the filename in its own way.

$DIRNAME(filename) is the same as $Fp(filename)

$BASENAME(filename) is the same as $Fnx(filename)

$INT(item-to-convert) or $INT(item-to-convert, format-specifier)
Expands, evaluates, and returns a string version of item-to-convert. The format-specifier has the same syntax as a C language or Perl format specifier. If no format-specifier is specified, "%d" is used as the format specifier.

$RANDOM_CHOICE(choice1, choice2, choice3, ...)
A random choice of one of the parameters in the list of parameters is made. For example, if one of the integers 0-8 (inclusive) should be randomly chosen:

$RANDOM_INTEGER(min, max [, step])
A random integer within the range min and max, inclusive, is selected. The optional step parameter controls the stride within the range, and it defaults to the value 1. For example, to randomly chose an even integer in the range 0-8 (inclusive):
  $RANDOM_INTEGER(0, 8, 2)

$REAL(item-to-convert) or $REAL(item-to-convert, format-specifier)
Expands, evaluates, and returns a string version of item-to-convert for a floating point type. The format-specifier is a C language or Perl format specifier. If no format-specifier is specified, "%16G" is used as a format specifier.

$SUBSTR(name, start-index) or $SUBSTR(name, start-index, length)
Expands name and returns a substring of it. The first character of the string is at index 0. The first character of the substring is at index start-index. If the optional length is not specified, then the substring includes characters up to the end of the string. A negative value of start-index works back from the end of the string. A negative value of length eliminates use of characters from the end of the string. Here are some examples that all assume
  Name = abcdef

Environment references are not currently used in standard HTCondor configurations. However, they can sometimes be useful in custom configurations.

3.3.11 Macros That Will Require a Restart When Changed

When any of the following listed configuration variables are changed, HTCondor must be restarted. Reconfiguration using condor_reconfig will not be enough.

3.3.12 Pre-Defined Macros

HTCondor provides pre-defined macros that help configure HTCondor. Pre-defined macros are listed as $(macro_name).

This first set are entries whose values are determined at run time and cannot be overwritten. These are inserted automatically by the library routine which parses the configuration files. This implies that a change to the underlying value of any of these variables will require a full restart of HTCondor in order to use the changed value.

The fully qualified host name of the local machine, which is host name plus domain name.

The host name of the local machine, without a domain name.

The ASCII string version of the local machine's ``most public'' IP address. This address may be IPv4 or IPv6, but the macro will always be set.

HTCondor selects the ``most public'' address heuristically. Your configuration should not depend on HTCondor picking any particular IP address for this macro; this macro's value may not even be one of the IP addresses HTCondor is configured to advertise.


The ASCII string version of the local machine's ``most public'' IPv4 address; unset if the local machine has no IPv4 address.

See IP_ADDRESS about ``most public''.

The ASCII string version of the local machine's ``most public'' IPv6 address; unset if the local machine has no IPv6 address.

See IP_ADDRESS about ``most public''.

A boolean which is true if and only if IP_ADDRESS is an IPv6 address. Useful for conditonal configuration.

The full path to the home directory of the Unix user condor, if such a user exists on the local machine.

The subsystem name of the daemon or tool that is evaluating the macro. This is a unique string which identifies a given daemon within the HTCondor system. The possible subsystem names are:

The integer number of hyper-threaded CPUs, as given by $(DETECTED_CORES), when COUNT_HYPERTHREAD_CPUS is True. The integer number of physical (non hyper-threaded) CPUs, as given by $(DETECTED_PHYSICAL_CPUS), when COUNT_HYPERTHREAD_CPUS is False. When COUNT_HYPERTHREAD_CPUS is True.

The integer number of physical (non hyper-threaded) CPUs. This will be equal the number of unique CPU IDs.

This second set of macros are entries whose default values are determined automatically at run time but which can be overwritten.

Defines the string used to identify the architecture of the local machine to HTCondor. The condor_startd will advertise itself with this attribute so that users can submit binaries compiled for a given platform and force them to run on the correct machines. condor_submit will append a requirement to the job ClassAd that it must run on the same ARCH and OPSYS of the machine where it was submitted, unless the user specifies ARCH and/or OPSYS explicitly in their submit file. See the condor_submit manual page on page [*] for details.

Defines the string used to identify the operating system of the local machine to HTCondor. If it is not defined in the configuration file, HTCondor will automatically insert the operating system of this machine as determined by uname.

Defines the integer used to identify the operating system version number.

Defines the string used prior to HTCondor version 7.7.2 as $(OPSYS).

The architecture as reported by uname(2)'s machine field. Always the same as ARCH on Windows.

The operating system as reported by uname(2)'s sysname field. Always the same as OPSYS on Windows.

The amount of detected physical memory (RAM) in MiB.

The number of CPU cores that the operating system schedules. On machines that support hyper-threading, this will be the number of hyper-threads.

The process ID for the daemon or tool.

The process ID of the parent process for the daemon or tool.

The user name of the UID of the daemon or tool. For daemons started as root, but running under another UID (typically the user condor), this will be the other UID.

Defaults to the fully qualified host name of the machine it is evaluated on. See section 3.5.5, Shared File System Configuration File Entries for the full description of its use and under what conditions it could be desirable to change it.

Defaults to the fully qualified host name of the machine it is evaluated on. See section 3.5.5 for the full description of this configuration variable.

Since $(ARCH) and $(OPSYS) will automatically be set to the correct values, we recommend that you do not overwrite them.

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