is the UNIX
scheduler. It's a daemon
that checks a set of files every 60 seconds, to see what's supposed to be run at that time. If it finds one, it runs it, and emails the output to you.
schedules are stored in files called crontab
s. Every user on a UNIX
system can have their own, and they're pretty simple to create.
program, when executed, will create a temporary file
, and invoke a text editor
for you to edit this file. The particular editor it uses is determined by the VISUAL
environment variable. When you've finished editing the file, crontab reads it, and applies its contents to a number of files in /var/
. It's these files that cron uses as the basis of its scheduler.
The default editor crontab uses is vi
, but to use another editor is fairly easy. Here's how you use nano
clone of pico
[firstname.lastname@example.org jodrell]$ VISUAL="nano -bw" crontab -e
Of course you could export
the VISUAL variable in your shell's .rc
file so you can just enter crontab -e
and save some keyboard plastic.
The crontab format is pretty simple. Each scheduled task is on its own line, and there are seven columns that need to be filled in, separated by whitespace
MM HH DD MM DW task
minute in the hour
hour in the day
day in the month
month in the year
day of the week, eg sun,mon,tue...
The minute, hour, day of the month, month and year columns are all zero-indexed, and * can be used as a wildcard. You can also use a comma-separated list, eg 0,1,2,3..., and a range eg 3-5. The days of the week can be mon,tue,wed,thu etc.
Here's an example. This entry would run 'uptime > uptime.txt'
at 23:00 every day:
00 23 * * * uptime > uptime.txt
This one does a backup of /home/ every sunday:
00 00 * * sun tar zcf /home.tgz /home/
This one runs fetchmail
every hour during the working week:
00 * * * mon-fri fetchmail
By default, cron generates an e-mail report that's sent to the user everytime a scheduled task is run. You can change the destination address by using the MAILTO statement:
would send it to you.
would suppress the report.
This statement is applied to all the cron jobs below it in the crontab file, so you can set different recipients for different tasks.