CRON(8)                     System Manager's Manual                    CRON(8)

       cron - daemon to execute scheduled commands (Vixie Cron)

       cron [-f] [-l] [-L loglevel]

       cron  is  started automatically from /etc/init.d on entering multi-user

       -f      Stay in foreground mode, don't daemonize.

       -l      Enable LSB compliant names for /etc/cron.d files. This setting,
               however,   does   not   affect   the  parsing  of  files  under
               /etc/cron.hourly,    /etc/cron.daily,    /etc/cron.weekly    or

       -n      Include the FQDN in the subject when sending mails. By default,
               cron will abbreviate the hostname.

       -L loglevel
               Tell cron what to log about jobs (errors are logged  regardless
               of this value) as the sum of the following values:

                   1      will log the start of all cron jobs

                   2      will log the end of all cron jobs

                   4      will log all failed jobs (exit status != 0)

                   8      will log the process number of all cron jobs

               The  default  is to log the start of all jobs (1). Logging will
               be disabled if levels is set to zero (0). A  value  of  fifteen
               (15) will select all options.

       cron  searches  its  spool  area (/var/spool/cron/crontabs) for crontab
       files (which are named after accounts in /etc/passwd);  crontabs  found
       are  loaded  into  memory.  Note that crontabs in this directory should
       not be accessed directly - the crontab command should be used to access
       and update them.

       cron  also  reads /etc/crontab, which is in a slightly different format
       (see crontab(5)).  In Debian, the content of /etc/crontab is predefined
       to    run    programs    under    /etc/cron.hourly,    /etc/cron.daily,
       /etc/cron.weekly and /etc/cron.monthly. This configuration is  specific
       to Debian, see the note under DEBIAN SPECIFIC below.

       Additionally, in Debian, cron reads the files in the /etc/cron.d direc-
       tory.  cron treats the files in /etc/cron.d as in the same way  as  the
       /etc/crontab  file  (they  follow the special format of that file, i.e.
       they  include  the  user  field).  However,  they  are  independent  of
       /etc/crontab:  they  do  not, for example, inherit environment variable
       settings from it. This change is specific to Debian see the note  under
       DEBIAN SPECIFIC below.

       Like /etc/crontab, the files in the /etc/cron.d directory are monitored
       for changes. In  general,  the  system  administrator  should  not  use
       /etc/cron.d/, but use the standard system crontab /etc/crontab.

       /etc/crontab  and  the  files in /etc/cron.d must be owned by root, and
       must not be group- or other-writable. In contrast to  the  spool  area,
       the  files  under  /etc/cron.d  or  the  files  under /etc/cron.hourly,
       /etc/cron.daily, /etc/cron.weekly and  /etc/cron.monthly  may  also  be
       symlinks,  provided that both the symlink and the file it points to are
       owned by root.  The files under /etc/cron.d do  not  need  to  be  exe-
       cutable,  while  the  files  under  /etc/cron.hourly,  /etc/cron.daily,
       /etc/cron.weekly and /etc/cron.monthly do, as they are run by run-parts
       (see run-parts(8) for more information).

       cron  then wakes up every minute, examining all stored crontabs, check-
       ing each command to see if it should be  run  in  the  current  minute.
       When  executing  commands,  any  output  is  mailed to the owner of the
       crontab (or to the user named in the MAILTO environment variable in the
       crontab,  if  such  exists).  The children copies of cron running these
       processes have their name coerced to uppercase, as will be seen in  the
       syslog and ps output.

       Additionally,  cron  checks each minute to see if its spool directory's
       modtime (or the modtime on the /etc/crontab file) has changed,  and  if
       it  has,  cron  will then examine the modtime on all crontabs files and
       reload those which have changed.  Thus cron need not be restarted when-
       ever  a  crontab  file  is  modified.  Note that the crontab(1) command
       updates the modtime of  the  spool  directory  whenever  it  changes  a

       Special  considerations  exist when the clock is changed by less than 3
       hours, for example at the beginning and end of daylight  savings  time.
       If  the time has moved forwards, those jobs which would have run in the
       time that was skipped will be run soon after the  change.   Conversely,
       if  the  time has moved backwards by less than 3 hours, those jobs that
       fall into the repeated time will not be re-run.

       Only jobs that run at a particular time (not specified as @hourly,  nor
       with  '*' in the hour or minute specifier) are affected. Jobs which are
       specified with wildcards are run based on the new time immediately.

       Clock changes of more than 3 hours are considered to be corrections  to
       the clock, and the new time is used immediately.

       cron  logs its action to the syslog facility 'cron', and logging may be
       controlled using the standard syslogd(8) facility.

       If configured in /etc/default/cron in Debian systems, the  cron  daemon
       localisation  settings  environment  can  be managed through the use of
       /etc/environment or through the use of /etc/default/locale with  values
       from the latter overriding values from the former. These files are read
       and they will be used to setup the LANG, LC_ALL, and LC_CTYPE  environ-
       ment  variables.  These  variables  are then used to set the charset of
       mails, which defaults to 'C'.

       This does NOT affect the environment of tasks running under  cron.  For
       more  information  on  how  to modify the environment of tasks, consult

       The daemon will use, if present, the definition from /etc/timezone  for
       the timezone.

       The environment can be redefined in user's crontab definitions but cron
       will only handle tasks in a single timezone.

       Debian introduces some changes to cron that were not originally  avail-
       able upstream. The most significant changes introduced are:

       --     Support    for    /etc/cron.{hourly,daily,weekly,monthly}    via

       --     Support for /etc/cron.d (drop-in dir for package crontabs),

       --     PAM support,

       --     SELinux support,

       --     auditlog support,

       --     DST and other time-related changes/fixes,

       --     SGID crontab(1) instead of SUID root,

       --     Debian-specific file locations and commands,

       --     Debian-specific configuration (/etc/default/cron),

       --     numerous other smaller features and fixes.

       Support for  /etc/cron.hourly,  /etc/cron.daily,  /etc/cron.weekly  and
       /etc/cron.monthly  is provided in Debian through the default setting of
       the /etc/crontab file (see the system-wide example in crontab(5)).  The
       default  system-wide crontab contains four tasks: run every hour, every
       day, every week and every month. Each of these tasks will execute  run-
       parts providing each one of the directories as an argument. These tasks
       are disabled if anacron is installed (except for the  hourly  task)  to
       prevent conflicts between both daemons.

       As  described  above, the files under these directories have to be pass
       some sanity checks including the following: be executable, be owned  by
       root,  not  be  writable  by  group or other and, if symlinks, point to
       files owned by root. Additionally, the file names must conform  to  the
       filename  requirements  of  run-parts: they must be entirely made up of
       letters, digits and can only  contain  the  special  signs  underscores
       ('_')  and  hyphens  ('-').  Any  file  that  does not conform to these
       requirements will not be executed by run-parts.  For example, any  file
       containing  dots  will  be  ignored.  This is done to prevent cron from
       running any of the files that are left by the Debian package management
       system when handling files in /etc/cron.d/ as configuration files (i.e.
       files ending in .dpkg-dist, .dpkg-orig, and .dpkg-new).

       This feature can be used  by  system  administrators  and  packages  to
       include  tasks  that will be run at defined intervals. Files created by
       packages in these directories should be named after  the  package  that
       supplies them.

       Support  for  /etc/cron.d  is included in the cron daemon itself, which
       handles this location as the system-wide crontab spool.  This directory
       can  contain  any  file  defining  tasks  following  the format used in
       /etc/crontab, i.e. unlike the user cron spool, these files must provide
       the username to run the task as in the task definition.

       Files  in  this  directory  have to be owned by root, do not need to be
       executable (they are configuration files, just like  /etc/crontab)  and
       must  conform  to  the  same naming convention as used by run-parts(8):
       they must consist solely of  upper-  and  lower-case  letters,  digits,
       underscores, and hyphens. This means that they cannot contain any dots.
       If the -l option is specified to cron (this option can be setup through
       /etc/default/cron, see below), then they must conform to the LSB names-
       pace specification, exactly as in the --lsbsysinit option in run-parts.

       The intended purpose of this feature is to allow packages that  require
       finer      control      of      their      scheduling      than     the
       /etc/cron.{hourly,daily,weekly,monthly} directories to  add  a  crontab
       file  to /etc/cron.d. Such files should be named after the package that
       supplies them.

       Also,  the   default   configuration   of   cron   is   controlled   by
       /etc/default/cron  which is read by the init.d script that launches the
       cron daemon. This file determines whether cron will read  the  system's
       environment  variables  and makes it possible to add additional options
       to the cron program before it is executed, either to configure its log-
       ging or to define how it will treat the files under /etc/cron.d.

       crontab(1), crontab(5), run-parts(8)

       Paul Vixie <> is the author of cron and original creator of
       this manual page. This page has also been modified for Debian by  Steve
       Greenland, Javier Fernandez-Sanguino and Christian Kastner.

4th Berkeley Distribution        19 April 2010                         CRON(8)
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