cron

Mac crontab: Creating MacOS startup jobs with crontab, er, launchd

Table of Contents1 - macOS: crontab, launchd, and launchctl2 - Running a simple command every minute with Mac launchd3 - 1) Move to the $HOME/Library/LaunchAgents directory4 - 2) Create a Mac plist file to describe your job5 - 3) Tell MacOS about your Mac plist launchd file6 - 4) How Mac launchd works with system reboots7 - An important note about root and sudo access8 - MacOS launchd, launchctl, and plist resources9 - MacOS startup jobs: cron and crontab, launchd and launchctl

MacOS crontab FAQ: How do I run a Unix job (or shell script) through the MacOS crontab facility? I keep trying to edit my Mac crontab file, but my Mac won't save my crontab changes, or run my program.

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macOS: crontab, launchd, and launchctl

Many years ago (~2012-2014) I found that the Mac crontab command was deprecated on MacOS, and the Apple documentation encouraged you to use their launchd facility. Here’s a blurb from Apple's crontab man page:

“Darwin note: Although cron(8) and crontab(5) are officially supported under Darwin, their functionality has been absorbed into launchd(8), which provides a more flexible way of automatically executing commands. See launchctl(1) for more information.”

Format of the Linux crontab date and time fields

I’ve written several things about the Linux cron command and crontab file format before, and as a quick note, here’s some information on the format of the crontab date and time fields.

Crontab date/time fields

First, from the crontab man page documentation:

A Linux shell script (and commands) to find large files

I made a mistake in configuring logrotate on a new Linux system, and almost ran into a problem because of that. Fortunately I saw the problem before it became a BIG problem, but as a result, I decided to add a script to my Linux system to check for large files, typically log files that have grown out of control for one reason or another.

Here then is a simple Linux shell script I named LargeFileCheck.sh, which searches the filesystem for files that are larger than 1GB in size:

Help, my Drupal 8 database is huge

Earlier today I ran into a problem making a Drupal 8 database backup. I ran the usual mysqldump backup command, and when it kept running for a long time I decided to kill it, and then began investigating the problem. I knew that I had recently deleted all of the log records, and the Drupal cron task was running correctly, so something else was going on. In short, I found that my Drupal 8 database was huge.

Mac launchctl StartInterval not working

It looks like the Mac launchd launchctl StartInterval is broken in Mac OS X 10.6.x, at least the current version (10.6.7). When I run a Mac launchctl script like this, which used to work just fine:

MacOS ‘launchd’ examples (launchd plist example files)

Mac OS X launchd FAQ: Can you share some Mac launchd examples (also written as launchd plist examples, or launchctl examples)?

In an earlier tutorial (Mac OS X startup jobs with crontab, launchctl, and launchd) I demonstrated how to use the Mac OS X launchd facility instead of cron to run what would normally be a cron (crontab) job. As I started working with launchd and launchctl, I realized it would probably be helpful to see several different launchd examples, specifically launchd plist file examples.

A Linux crontab mail command example

Linux crontab mail FAQ: Can you share an example of a Linux crontab entry you use to send email on a regular basis?

Here's the source code for a really simple Linux mail script that I used to send an email message to one of my co-workers every month. This script used the Unix or Linux mail command to email a file to her that showed a list of all the websites on our server that she needed to bill our customers for.

Here's the source code for the email shell script:

How to edit your crontab file with “crontab -e”

Linux crontab FAQ: How do I edit my Unix/Linux crontab file?

I was working with an experienced Linux sysadmin a few days ago, and when we needed to make a change to the root user crontab file, I was really surprised to watch him cd to the root user’s cron folder, make changes to the file, then do a kill -HUP on the crontab process.

Thinking he knew something I didn’t know, I asked him why he did all of that work instead of just entering this:

An example Linux crontab file

Linux crontab format FAQ: Do you have an example of a Unix/Linux crontab file format?

I have a hard time remembering the crontab file format, so I thought I’d share an example crontab file here today. The following file is the root crontab file from a CentOS Linux server I use in a test environment.