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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 the POSIX crontab 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. Note that this repository is currently ahead of the official one, it holding the candidate for a future minor release (timings depend on developments elsewhere, namely in the Guile package). This repository is also mirrored at GitHub should you wish to send pull requests by that means.


Our Guix channel descriptor is (this goes into your $HOME/.config/guix/channels.scm)

  (name 'dmbcs-development)
  (url "")
            "E23C 21ED 864F F4F3 A711  4CDF CA47 1FD5 0161 8A49"))))

With this (after a guix pull), you can then import our version of Mcron into your profile with

guix install mcron@1.2.0+dmbcs

(Note that this will pull guile@3.0.2-dmbcs into your Guix profile, too).


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 January, 2022

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