time-based job scheduler

Cron is a computer program that can be used to make a computer do tasks at specific time intervals. It is used in UNIX computer operating systems and operating systems that are similar to UNIX, like Linux.

Cron can be used to schedule most repetitive tasks. It is often used to automate tasks related to a computer or computer network's maintenance or administration, although it can be used for many other tasks like downloading files from the Internet and downloading email at specific times or dates.[1]

The name of the cron computer program is from the word cron, which is from the Greek word for time, χρόνος (chronos).[2]

Cron is set up by editing a file called a crontab (cron table). This file lists the specific tasks for the computer to run and when the tasks should be run.[3]


  1. "Newbie Introduction to cron". Retrieved 2013-11-06.
  2. "What is the etymology of cron". Retrieved 2015-12-23.
  3. "crontab", The Open Group Base Specifications Issue 7 — IEEE Std 1003.1, 2013 Edition, The Open Group, 2013, retrieved May 18, 2015