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GNU mcron

A cron program is one which runs unattended jobs (not necessarily involving dynamite) on a computer at regular pre-set times.

The GNU package mcron (Mellor's cron) is a 100% compatible replacement for Vixie cron. It is written in pure Guile, and allows configuration files to be written in scheme (as well as Vixie's original format) for infinite flexibility in specifying when jobs should be run.

The package was originally conceived, developed and produced by DMBCS, and the copyright was assigned to GNU in the very early days, as it should form a key part of the GNU system performing regular house-keeping tasks. These days it is officially in the custodianship of the maintainers of the excellent GUIX distribution, in which it plays that key role. The GNU maintenance page is over here.

A historical white paper, reproduced here, describes the motivation and initial design concepts of mcron.


As an official part of the GNU system, mcron packages can be downloaded from and

The current sources which we maintain at DMBCS can be downloaded by typing

git clone dmbcs-mcron
at the command line.


Documentation is an integral part of the mcron package. Once installed, the user can type info mcron, man mcron, or, in a pinch, mcron --help at the command-line to get information in various amounts and depths.

The full manual can be read online here.

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This page was last modified March, 2020

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