[arch-dev-public] Cron

Paul Mattal paul at mattal.com
Sun Jan 3 20:52:09 EST 2010

We've got several bugs relating to choosing a new default cron daemon, 
and/or supporting other alternatives.

The contenders seem to be: dcron, bcron, fcron, vixie-cron.

I have collected facts about these alternatives below, in the hopes we 
can make a decision and move forward. Some of these are based on things 
others have said, so they are reliable to the extent such 
usually-reliable people made reliable statements; please point out any 
errors if you spot them!

My fact-based inquiry suggests that if we have to select ONE cron, bcron 
is the best default cron for Arch, because:
* vixie-cron is the de facto standard for cron, and thus "vanilla"
* bcron is committed to full vixie-cron compatibility
* bcron is designed for simplicity and security
* modest standard features and high robustness meets most of the 
community's need

If we decided to support two crons, my analysis suggests the other 
should be fcron. It's already maintained by Sergej in community; we 
could move it to extra as a second supported choice.

What do others think? Tpowa, as maintainer of dcron, what do you think? 
It would be good for us to make a decision so we can move forward on the 
course of action and resolve some of these lingering bugs.

Do others have specific experiences with bcron to relate? I know some 
folks like Dan and Thomas have chosen fcron, and maybe for good reason 
other than just features; if you have war stories, please share.

If there's no new info by 1/10, I will start maintaining bcron in 
[extra] and start using it for my own systems, to assess its suitability 
firsthand and over an extended time period.

- P


   * it's the least work (the incumbent)
   * simple, small, mature
   * familiar/standard crontab format
   * does not log to syslog
   * does not support /etc/cron.d

   * designed with security in mind
   * full vixie-cron crontab compatibility
   * compensates for DST
   * logs to syslog
   * supports /etc/cron.d

   * feature-rich, if/when you want it
   * almost fully supports vixie-cron syntax (except @*)
   * compensates for system downtime
   * already a package in community
   * Dan and Thomas use it and recommend it firsthand
   * logs to syslog
   * does not support /etc/cron.d
   * slightly larger, more code
   * not fully vixie-cron compatible
   * probably less secure, since it's much more extensive

   * a "reference" implementation, widely known
   * logs to syslog
   * not updated (2004)

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