crontab man page on ElementaryOS

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CRONTAB(5)							    CRONTAB(5)

       crontab - tables for driving cron

       A  crontab file contains instructions to the cron(8) daemon of the gen‐
       eral form: ``run this command at this time on this date''.   Each  user
       has  their  own crontab, and commands in any given crontab will be exe‐
       cuted as the user who owns the crontab.	Uucp  and  News	 will  usually
       have  their  own	 crontabs, eliminating the need for explicitly running
       su(1) as part of a cron command.

       Blank lines and leading spaces and tabs are ignored.  Lines whose first
       non-space  character  is a hash-sign (#) are comments, and are ignored.
       Note that comments are not allowed on the same line as  cron  commands,
       since  they  will  be taken to be part of the command.  Similarly, com‐
       ments are not allowed on the same line  as  environment	variable  set‐

       An  active line in a crontab will be either an environment setting or a
       cron command.  The crontab file is parsed from top to  bottom,  so  any
       environment  settings  will affect only the cron commands below them in
       the file.  An environment setting is of the form,

	   name = value

       where the spaces around the equal-sign (=) are optional, and any subse‐
       quent non-leading spaces in value will be part of the value assigned to
       name.  The value string may be placed in quotes (single or double,  but
       matching)  to  preserve	leading or trailing blanks. To define an empty
       variable, quotes must be used. The value string is not parsed for envi‐
       ronmental substitutions or replacement of variables, thus lines like

	   PATH = $HOME/bin:$PATH

       will not work as you might expect. And neither will this work

	   C=$A $B

       There will not be any subsitution for the defined variables in the last

       An alternative for setting up the commands path is using the fact  that
       many shells will treat the tilde(~) as substitution of $HOME, so if you
       use bash for your tasks you can use this:


       Several environment variables are set up automatically by  the  cron(8)
       daemon.	SHELL is set to /bin/sh, and LOGNAME and HOME are set from the
       /etc/passwd  line  of   the   crontab's	 owner.	  PATH	 is   set   to
       "/usr/bin:/bin".	  HOME,	 SHELL, and PATH may be overridden by settings
       in the crontab; LOGNAME is the user that the job is running  from,  and
       may not be changed.

       (Another	 note:	the  LOGNAME  variable is sometimes called USER on BSD
       systems...  on these systems, USER will be set also.)

       In addition to LOGNAME, HOME, and SHELL, cron(8) will look at MAILTO if
       it  has	any  reason  to	 send  mail as a result of running commands in
       ``this'' crontab.  If MAILTO is defined (and non-empty), mail  is  sent
       to the user so named.  MAILTO may also be used to direct mail to multi‐
       ple recipients by separating recipient users with a comma. If MAILTO is
       defined but empty (MAILTO=""), no mail will be sent.  Otherwise mail is
       sent to the owner of the crontab.

       On the Debian GNU/Linux system, cron supports the pam_env  module,  and
       loads  the  environment	specified  by  /etc/environment and /etc/secu‐
       rity/pam_env.conf.    It	  also	 reads	 locale	   information	  from
       /etc/default/locale.   However,	the  PAM  settings do NOT override the
       settings described above nor any settings in the crontab	 file  itself.
       Note  in particular that if you want a PATH other than "/usr/bin:/bin",
       you will need to set it in the crontab file.

       By default, cron will send mail using the mail  "Content-Type:"	header
       of  "text/plain"	 with  the  "charset="	parameter set to the charmap /
       codeset of the locale in which crond(8) is started up - ie. either  the
       default system locale, if no LC_* environment variables are set, or the
       locale specified by the LC_* environment variables  (  see  locale(7)).
       You can use different character encodings for mailed cron job output by
       setting the CONTENT_TYPE	 and  CONTENT_TRANSFER_ENCODING	 variables  in
       crontabs, to the correct values of the mail headers of those names.

       The  format of a cron command is very much the V7 standard, with a num‐
       ber of upward-compatible extensions.  Each line has five time and  date
       fields,	followed by a command, followed by a newline character ('\n').
       The system crontab (/etc/crontab) uses the same format, except that the
       username	 for  the  command is specified after the time and date fields
       and before the command. The fields may be separated by spaces or tabs.

       Commands are executed by cron(8) when the minute, hour,	and  month  of
       year  fields  match  the current time, and when at least one of the two
       day fields (day of month, or day of week) match the current  time  (see
       ``Note'' below).	 cron(8) examines cron entries once every minute.  The
       time and date fields are:

	      field	     allowed values
	      -----	     --------------
	      minute	     0-59
	      hour	     0-23
	      day of month   1-31
	      month	     1-12 (or names, see below)
	      day of week    0-7 (0 or 7 is Sun, or use names)

       A field may be an asterisk (*), which always stands for ``first-last''.

       Ranges of numbers are allowed.  Ranges are two numbers separated with a
       hyphen.	 The  specified	 range is inclusive.  For example, 8-11 for an
       ``hours'' entry specifies execution at hours 8, 9, 10 and 11.

       Lists are allowed.  A list is a set of numbers (or ranges) separated by
       commas.	Examples: ``1,2,5,9'', ``0-4,8-12''.

       Step  values can be used in conjunction with ranges.  Following a range
       with ``/<number>'' specifies skips of the number's  value  through  the
       range.  For example, ``0-23/2'' can be used in the hours field to spec‐
       ify command execution every other hour (the alternative in the V7 stan‐
       dard  is ``0,2,4,6,8,10,12,14,16,18,20,22'').  Steps are also permitted
       after an asterisk, so if you want to say ``every two hours'', just  use

       Names  can  also	 be used for the ``month'' and ``day of week'' fields.
       Use the first three letters  of	the  particular	 day  or  month	 (case
       doesn't matter).	 Ranges or lists of names are not allowed.

       The  ``sixth'' field (the rest of the line) specifies the command to be
       run.  The entire command portion of the line, up	 to  a	newline	 or  %
       character, will be executed by /bin/sh or by the shell specified in the
       SHELL variable of the crontab file.  Percent-signs (%) in the  command,
       unless escaped with backslash (\), will be changed into newline charac‐
       ters, and all data after the first % will be sent  to  the  command  as
       standard	 input.	 There	is  no way to split a single command line onto
       multiple lines, like the shell's trailing "\".

       Note: The day of a command's execution can be specified by two fields —
       day  of	month,	and day of week.  If both fields are restricted (i.e.,
       aren't *), the command will be run when either field matches  the  cur‐
       rent time.  For example,
       ``30 4 1,15 * 5'' would cause a command to be run at 4:30 am on the 1st
       and 15th of each month, plus every Friday. One  can,  however,  achieve
       the  desired result by adding a test to the command (see the last exam‐
       ple in EXAMPLE CRON FILE below).

       Instead of the first five fields, one  of  eight	 special  strings  may

	      string	     meaning
	      ------	     -------
	      @reboot	     Run once, at startup.
	      @yearly	     Run once a year, "0 0 1 1 *".
	      @annually	     (same as @yearly)
	      @monthly	     Run once a month, "0 0 1 * *".
	      @weekly	     Run once a week, "0 0 * * 0".
	      @daily	     Run once a day, "0 0 * * *".
	      @midnight	     (same as @daily)
	      @hourly	     Run once an hour, "0 * * * *".

       Please  note  that startup, as far as @reboot is concerned, is the time
       when the cron(8) daemon startup.	 In particular, it may be before  some
       system  daemons, or other facilities, were startup.  This is due to the
       boot order sequence of the machine.

       The following lists an example of a user crontab file.

       # use /bin/bash to run commands, instead of the default /bin/sh
       # mail any output to `paul', no matter whose crontab this is
       # run five minutes after midnight, every day
       5 0 * * *       $HOME/bin/daily.job >> $HOME/tmp/out 2>&1
       # run at 2:15pm on the first of every month -- output mailed to paul
       15 14 1 * *     $HOME/bin/monthly
       # run at 10 pm on weekdays, annoy Joe
       0 22 * * 1-5    mail -s "It's 10pm" joe%Joe,%%Where are your kids?%
       23 0-23/2 * * * echo "run 23 minutes after midn, 2am, 4am ..., everyday"
       5 4 * * sun     echo "run at 5 after 4 every sunday"
       # Run on every second Saturday of the month
       0 4 8-14 * *    test $(date +\%u) -eq 6 && echo "2nd Saturday"

       The following lists the content of a regular system-wide crontab	 file.
       Unlinke	a user's crontab, this file has the username field, as used by

       # /etc/crontab: system-wide crontab
       # Unlike any other crontab you don't have to run the `crontab'
       # command to install the new version when you edit this file
       # and files in /etc/cron.d. These files also have username fields,
       # that none of the other crontabs do.


       # m h dom mon dow usercommand
       17 * * * *  root	 cd / && run-parts --report /etc/cron.hourly
       25 6 * * *  root	 test -x /usr/sbin/anacron || ( cd / && run-parts --report /etc/cron.daily )
       47 6 * * 7  root	 test -x /usr/sbin/anacron || ( cd / && run-parts --report /etc/cron.weekly )
       52 6 1 * *  root	 test -x /usr/sbin/anacron || ( cd / && run-parts --report /etc/cron.monthly )

       cron(8), crontab(1)

       When specifying day of week, both day 0 and day 7  will	be  considered
       Sunday.	BSD and AT&T seem to disagree about this.

       Lists  and ranges are allowed to co-exist in the same field.  "1-3,7-9"
       would be rejected by AT&T or BSD cron -- they  want  to	see  "1-3"  or
       "7,8,9" ONLY.

       Ranges can include "steps", so "1-9/2" is the same as "1,3,5,7,9".

       Months or days of the week can be specified by name.

       Environment  variables  can be set in the crontab.  In BSD or AT&T, the
       environment handed  to  child  processes	 is  basically	the  one  from

       Command	output is mailed to the crontab owner (BSD can't do this), can
       be mailed to a person other than	 the  crontab  owner  (SysV  can't  do
       this), or the feature can be turned off and no mail will be sent at all
       (SysV can't do this either).

       All of the `@' commands that can appear in  place  of  the  first  five
       fields are extensions.

       The  cron  daemon  runs	with a defined timezone. It currently does not
       support per-user timezones. All the tasks: system's and user's will  be
       run  based  on the configured timezone. Even if a user specifies the TZ
       environment variable in his crontab this will affect only the  commands
       executed	 in  the crontab, not the execution of the crontab tasks them‐

       The crontab syntax does not make it possible  to	 define	 all  possible
       periods	one could image off. For example, it is not straightforward to
       define the last weekday of a month. If a task needs to be run in a spe‐
       cific  period of time that cannot be defined in the crontab syntaxs the
       best approach would be to have the program itself check	the  date  and
       time  information and continue execution only if the period matches the
       desired one.

       If the program itself cannot do the checks then a wrapper script	 would
       be required. Useful tools that could be used for date analysis are ncal
       or calendar For example, to run a program the last  Saturday  of	 every
       month you could use the following wrapper code:

       0 4 * * Sat   [ "$(date +\%e)" = "`ncal | grep $(date +\%a | sed	 -e 's/.$//') | sed -e 's/^.*\s\([0-9]\+\)\s*$/\1/'`" ] && echo "Last Saturday" && program_to_run

       cron  requires that each entry in a crontab end in a newline character.
       If the last entry in a crontab is missing a newline (ie, terminated  by
       EOF),  cron  will  consider  the crontab (at least partially) broken. A
       warning will be written to syslog.

       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			    CRONTAB(5)

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