Automating common tasks with cron

Tuesday, 10 August 2004, 12:52 PM EST

Look under the hood of any modern Linux distribution, and you'll find an assortment of gems hidden inside. There's the Vi editor for all of your text processing needs; the SSH shell for secure connections; the Apache server for Web site publishing; the Samba suite of tools for file sharing...the list goes on and on.

One of the lesser-known lights, though, must be cron, a tool that can automatically execute routine tasks at predefined intervals. When it comes to commands (or scripts) that must be performed on a regular basis, administrators and developers naturally reach for cron.

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