[arch-dev-public] Use systemd timers instead of /etc/cron.{hourly, daily, weekly, monthly}?

Thomas Bächler thomas at archlinux.org
Thu Mar 27 20:01:22 EDT 2014

Since systemd 212, systemd timers support the Persistent=true option for
OnCalendar timers. This is functionality similar to anacron:

    Takes a boolean argument. If true the service unit is immediately
    triggered when the timer unit is activated and the timer elapsed at
    least once since the last time the service unit has been triggered
    by the timer unit. The time when the service unit was last
    triggered is stored on disk. This is useful to catch up for missed
    timers when a machine is shutdown temporarily and then is powered
    up again. Note that this setting only has an effect on timers
    configured with OnCalendar=.

This means that we could replace the cron.* dropin scripts with systemd
services and timers.

 * enabled by default (in contrast to cronie)
 * systems without need for crontabs can disable/uninstall cron
 * service will be simpler than the rather long dropin scripts

 * services are run in parallel instead of sequentially (is this even a
con? timer start will be randomized, and we can increase accuracy to an
hour to randomize even more)
 * no holdoff time after boot as it seems

Affected packages:

community/awstats 7.2-1         /etc/cron.hourly/awstats
community/snapper 0.2.1-1       /etc/cron.hourly/snapper
community/sysstat 10.3.1-1      /etc/cron.hourly/sysstat

core/logrotate 3.8.7-1          /etc/cron.daily/logrotate
core/man-db 2.6.6-1             /etc/cron.daily/man-db
core/mlocate 0.26-1             /etc/cron.daily/updatedb
core/shadow           /etc/cron.daily/shadow
extra/hylafax 6.0.6-4           /etc/cron.daily/hylafax
community/atop 2.0.2-1          /etc/cron.daily/atop
community/dspam 3.10.2-8        /etc/cron.daily/dspam_maintenance
community/logwatch 7.4.0-3      /etc/cron.daily/0logwatch
community/snapper 0.2.1-1       /etc/cron.daily/snapper
community/sysstat 10.3.1-1      /etc/cron.daily/sysstat

extra/pkgstats 2.3-3    /etc/cron.weekly/pkgstats
community/squid 3.4.4-1 /etc/cron.weekly/squid

I'd be willing to convert all the core packages and put them to testing
if people agree that this is the right course.

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