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11.6. Cron Tasks

Through the Unix cron utilities, you can have your Macintosh run scripts and other programs at scheduled times or regular intervals. While this is a pretty neat feature that offers convenience to users and crucial maintenance-program scheduling for system administrators, Mac OS X does not ship with any friendly, GUI frontend to the cron utilities. That said, if you can use a text editor (such as any of those described in Chapter 17), then you can set up cron tasks for yourself or (if you have the right credentials) the whole machine.

Cron works courtesy of a clock-watching daemon named crond. When this loads, it reads all of the cron tables defined in some standard filesystem locations, which contain entries representing lists of times or repeating intervals, with a Darwin command to execute for each entry. On Mac OS X, these tables exist in two locations:


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