#2 Posted on 18.6.04 0648.09 Reposted on: 18.6.11 0653.24
man cron yields:
NAME cron - clock daemon
DESCRIPTION The cron daemon schedules commands to be run at specified dates and times. Commands that are to be run periodically are specified within crontab(5) files. Commands that are only to be run once are scheduled via the at(1) and batch(1) commands. Normally, the cron daemon is started from the /etc/rc command script. Because it can execute commands on a user's behalf, cron should be run late in the startup sequence, as close to the time when logins are accepted as possible.
#3 Posted on 18.6.04 1717.52 Reposted on: 18.6.11 1718.28
1) It's a Unix thing. If you don't know, you don't need to. :-)
2) It's the Unix (world) mechanism for scheduling stuff to happen either on a regular basis (eg. daily backups at 3:00 am when nobody's around), or a one-shot after everybody's gone home (eg. kick off a "recompile the world" job after the nightly backup). As with all things Unix, it's a straightforward concept, but extensive use can get pretty convoluted & arcane.
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