Fedora Cron Job Files

This document describes the guidelines for packaging cron job files in Fedora.

For the purposes of these guidelines, a cron job file is defined as a script (e.g., a shell script or a Perl script). These cron job files are scheduled to run on regular intervals by a cron daemon.

Cron Job Files on the filesystem

Packages with cron job files must place those cron job files into one or more of the following directories /etc/cron.hourly, /etc/cron.daily, /etc/cron.weekly, /etc/cron.monthly depending on the intended interval they should run.

There is an exception to this rule: If a certain cron job has to be executed at some frequency or at a specific time interval other than the above, then a custom crontab file should be added to /etc/cron.d (with 0640 permissions). In this case, the cron job file (the script) must be placed in an appropriate system location (e.g. %{_bindir}, %{_libexecdir}), and NOT in /etc/cron.d.

Both cron job files and crontab definition files installed in any of these directories must be treated as configuration files so that they can easily be modified by the local system administrator.

Cron Job file

An typical cron job file is just an script like

# My cron job script
# set -x

echo "This is my simple cron job script"

exit 0

Example of crontab definition run at ever other hour specified in /etc/cron.d/example

# .---------------- minute (0 - 59)
# |  .------------- hour (0 - 23)
# |  |  .---------- day of month (1 - 31)
# |  |  |  .------- month (1 - 12) OR jan,feb,mar,apr ...
# |  |  |  |  .---- day of week (0 - 6) (Sunday=0 or 7) OR sun,mon,tue,wed,thu,fri,sat
# |  |  |  |  |
# *  *  *  *  * user-name  command to be executed

0 */2 * * * root /usr/bin/example

Cron job file names

The file name of a cron job file should match the name of the package from which it comes.

If a package supplies multiple cron job files files in the same directory, the file names should all start with the name of the package followed by a hyphen (-) and a suitable suffix.

Cron Job Files Packaging

Cron job file(s) in packages must be marked as %config(noreplace), and their filename(s) should match the name of the package.

Helper files used by cron job files should be placed in appropriate system locations (e.g. %{_bindir} or %{_libexecdir}) and do not need to be marked as %config.

Packages with cron job files must have an explicit Requires: crontabs. Since crontabs requires /etc/cron.d and all cron daemon packages create (and own) that directory, crontabs serves as a virtual requires for cron daemon functionality.

Example of cron job packaging

Source1: %{name}.cron
Requires: crontabs


mkdir -p $RPM_BUILD_ROOT%{_sysconfdir}/cron.monthly
%{__install} -p -D -m 0750 %{SOURCE1} $RPM_BUILD_ROOT%{_sysconfdir}/cron.monthly/%{name}

%config(noreplace) %{_sysconfdir}/cron.monthly/%{name}