Cron, do you like it with butter or baked?

One might wonder if spellings were that important and how we let bad spellings by in our daily lives, I was meaning to say Corn but must have mistyped Cron. Well, actually I was meaning to say cron not Corn, Corn is what is also called Maize, which an Italian friend was trying to translate for me a decade ago and translated it as Mouse, which was a shocker, I was asking for something vegetarian and I was being offered Mouse!!

Well what is cron then, for those that are familiar with unix or linux they already might have heard of cron. For those that have not worked with unix or linux, the closest equivalent on Windows is a scheduler. One can set schedules and the system will run these tasks at the set time. On the *nix systems, it is even simpler, an utility called cron takes care of scheduling, and being on the *nix system the data is all in a human readable text file format called the crontab (cron table) which is generally found in the /etc directory or can also be found in the /usr/lib/cron/tabs. The Mac OS X structures are a bit different and the new versions of *nix also have different locations for user crontabs and system crontabs.

Why am I talking about cron?? The reason is I was looking at the Mac App Store and found a program called Cronette, which is a very nice GUI based frontend that works on the crontab file and creates schedules for the Mac and at about $12.99 in the AUD store, I felt that was a rip off. Firstly on a Mac standard users do not need scheduling and the advanced users do not need to have a GUI, they would know how to add entries already.

I feel for utilities like this, developers should not try to charge high rates and make these available to the community for a low price or rather free. I am also aware this is my sole source of income, so if I spend time on an app, it should get me something worth my time, sometimes the good karma that goes around is better than all other things. Not saying that good karma alone can pay mortgages and put food on the table, but it is worth.

So, cron is the utility on the Mac/*nix that allows a user to create schedules and save some money from buying that software.


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