crontab - table of jobs to be performed by cron
/var/opt/name/lib/crontab (Minix-vmd only)
The cron(8) daemon runs jobs at regular intervals. These jobs are listed
in crontab files. The format of entries in a crontab file are five
fields of numbers specifying the minute (0-59), hour (0-23), day of the
month (1-31), month (1-12), and day of the week (0-6 with 0 = Sunday)
that a task must be executed. The task to be executed follows as a shell
The time numbers can be given as a comma separated list of simple
numbers, ranges ("2-5" is the same as "2,3,4,5"), and repeats ("2:5"
means "2,7,12,17,22" in the hour field). A repeat is cyclic affair, i.e.
2:5 and 12:5 are the same thing. A single "*" can be used in a field to
indicate all valid numbers in that field, so it translates to "always".
In the minute field you can use "?" for the current minute that the
crontab file is loaded. It can be used in a repeat, i.e. "?:10" for
every 10 minutes. This keeps machines with identical crontabs from
executing tasks at exactly the same time, causing a burst of traffic if
anything is done over a network.
If a given time is valid in all five fields then a command is executed.
Here are a few examples that illustrate the possibilities:
# min hour mday mon wday command
? 3 * * * /usr/etc/daily # Daily system cleanup
0 * * * * date # Print date on the hour
30 4 * * 2-6 /var/etc/backup # After workdays on 4:30
0 9 25 12 * -u ast sing # Andy sings on Xmas morning
0 0 13 * 5 echo Beware! # For the superstitious
The command may optionally be prefixed by -u user to specify under which
user the command should be run. Commands from crontabs in the spool
directory are always run under the id of the crontab's owner, the -u flag
A command can be placed on the same line as the time fields, or on the
next line indented by one TAB character. (A TAB, not eight spaces.)
More TAB indented lines can be added for a multiline command. The tabs
are removed from the command when passed to the shell. If a command is
put on the same line as the time fields then percent characters are
changed into newlines, this is not done for a TAB indented command. The
following three entries give the same output:
0 12 * * * echo 'Hello'; echo ' World!'
0 12 * * * echo 'Hello% World!' #2
0 12 * * * #3
cat <<EOF #4
Comments start with a "#" character and continue until end of line.
They, excess whitespace, and empty lines are ignored. Of the comments in
the example above #1 and #3 are ignored by cron, but #2 and #4 are not
recognized as comments, but are seen as part of a command and are passed
to the shell who then happens to ignore them. There is no interpretation
of command characters other than the percent in a oneliner. The time
fields must all be on the same line.
/usr/lib/crontab Main Minix crontab file.
/usr/local/lib/crontab Local jobs for all systems in an organization.
/var/lib/crontab System specific jobs.
Per package jobs for Minix-vmd.
/usr/lib/packages List of installed packages.
/usr/spool/crontabs/user Per user jobs.
The "?" in the minute field, the repeat field (e.g. "2:5"), TAB indented
multiline commands and the -u option are unique to this cron
implementation. This doesn't mean you shouldn't use these features, but
just that you should be aware of the differences with other systems. You
are even advised to use these features and avoid the percent hack for
Other crons allow one to specify input to a job in some way, something
this cron can't. Simply use the << shell feature to do that. Other
crons often choke on empty lines.
It is a common bug to use 0 for Sunday instead of 7. This cron, like
most other crons out there accepts this without comment.
A job is not reissued until a previous instance of it has exited. The
next time to execute is computed from the previous time it ran. If job
issuing lags behind on the system time then the next time to run it is
computed from the current system time.
Kees J. Bot (firstname.lastname@example.org)