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SysAdmin OpEd: Where to Keep the Crons

This is just a note which I contributed to a thread on sage-members, to get something off my chest, as to where people should maintain their crontab entries. I sincerely doubt that reading what I have to say will bring you any great illumination.

I’d say, any reasonable SysAdmin should default to /etc/crontab because every other reasonable SysAdmin already knows where it is. If anything is used in addition to /etc/crontab, leave a note in /etc/crontab advising the new guy who just got paged at 3:45am where else to look for crons.

For production systems, I strongly object to the use of per-user crontabs. I’m glad to hear I’m not alone. One thing I have to do in a new environment tends to be to write a script that will sniff out all the cron entries.

And then there was the shop that used /etc/crontab, user crons, and fcron to keep crons from running over each other. This frustrated me enough that I did a poor job of explaining that job concurrency could easily be ensured by executing a command through (something like) the lockf utility, instead of adding a new layer of system complexity.

Yes, I am a cranky old SysAdmin.

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Categories: About Me, FreeBSD, Linux, Mac OS X, Technical