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shell_exec() syntax or server issue

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I have been told by my hosting company (1and1 if it makes a difference) that there are no restrictions on the shell_exec() command and safe_mode has been turned off, but I still have a problem with runing shell_exec(php ...) from within another php page.

My goal is to have a script pass variables and temporary files to another php script to run in the background, then email the result to a passed email address. Essentially:

[code]$command = 'php5 -f ~/mysite/script.php email@email.com /tmp/tempfile /tmp/tmpfile &> /dev/null &'

I have tested this command from an SSH terminal and the desired result occurs. I have tried:
[code]shell_exec('ls -la')
shell_exec('ps -e')
shell_exec('chmod ### file')
[/code]and all of these have completed with successful outputs. I have also tried exec, system, and `` (backticks) with the same browser result.

I have also played tag with my hosting company to no avail. They are assured that the error is in the script and at this point I am unsure. I was recommended a variation of this command from someone I would call a php guru, so I would like to believe that it should work.

I am getting frustrated as this is holding up the successful completion of a project that I would dearly love to get off my desk. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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i'm a noob when it comes to those functions, but i can offer a really, really dumb question instead: i don't see any ;'s on the end of your lines..maybe it's that?

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