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3.3 Vixie

NOTE that this section is definitive. If there is a difference in behaviour between the mcron program and this part of the manual, then there is a bug in the program. This section is also copied verbatim from Paul Vixie’s documentation for their cron program, and their copyright notice is duly reproduced below.

There are three problems with this specification.

1. It is allowed to specify days of the month in the range 0-31. What does it mean to specify day 0? Looking at the Vixie source code, it seems that if this date appears as part of a list, it has no effect. However, if it appears on its own, the effect is to say “don’t run on any particular day of the month, only take the week-day specification into account.” Mcron has been coded to mimic this behaviour as a special case (unmodified mcron logic implies that this date specification would cause jobs to run on the last day of the previous month, which will never happen).

2. Similarly to the above (but different), months of the year can be specified in the range 0-12. In the case of mcron (don’t know what Vixie cron did) month 12 will cause the program to wait until January of the following year (but don’t rely on this).

3. Somewhere it says that cron sets the SHELL environment variable to /bin/sh, and elsewhere it implies that the default behaviour is for the user’s default shell to be used to execute commands. Mcron sets the variable and runs the command in the user’s default shell, as advertised by the /etc/passwd file.

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