Back in my college days, when I was taking Security classes, I remember one of my instructors asking the class if we used scheduled tasks in Windows, or it’s Linux equivalent Cron. Many of the students, not really knowing what the hell they were talking about, and thinking they were spewing out the “correct” answer said they didn’t, because it was an “unnecessary security risk”. To that I say bull crap! I don’t think I could do half the stuff I do without some form of automation. Many times the trigger for said automation comes in the form of a scheduled task or Cron job. Am I right?
So like I mention above, Cron is the scheduled task program for Linux. If you want something to run at a certain time of day, Cron is your man (or app). For instance, I have a Linux server that backs up Cisco configs daily using a tool called Rancid. Well, what do you think makes Rancid run every day? Magic leprechauns? Nope, my man Cron does!
The thing about configuring Cron to run at a certain type of day can be a little daunting to the non-Linux type person, or non-terminal like person. Let’s face it, Windows admins like their GUI’s right? I mean, with the terminal, where the f^(k do you use the mouse? Well, to configure Cron normally you have to edit the crontab file with your favorite text editor like Nano or VI. Also the format isn’t that straight forward. I mean look at it:
Once you do one or two, it’s not that big of a deal, but what if there was an easier way? Well, there is if you have installed Gnome desktop, KDE, or some other windows manager. The tool is called Gnome-Schedule. Installing it is pretty easy. You can grab it from the software store in Ubuntu, or run apt-get from the terminal like thus:
sudo apt-get install gnome-schedule
Once installed, it is really intuitive to create your own scheduled Cron jobs without having to figure out exactly how to format your Crontab. Who doesn’t like easy right?