Improved way to run cron

Systemd timers is an interesting alternative, but I still prefer crontab over it to run periodic jobs on my servers. To make it a bit more reliable I just chain a few commands like cronic, longwarn and flock.

My usual crontab looks something like this:


14  *  *  *  * cronic longwarn  600 flock -n /run/lock/my-script.lock /run/some/

MAILTO is an address to which I receive an email if something fails on a scheduled job. I also have a hook to send a message via telegram bot in certain cases.

cronic helps to avoid unwanted emails from cron. It only sends a message if a script returned non-zero result code or had any error output. That allows to have scripts with standard output in crontab. If something goes wrong, you will see full output (and not something with a quiet option).

longwarn changes a return code from success to error if a script takes too long to run. For example, if a script above takes more than 10 minutes, I will receive a message with a warning.

And flock -n <lock_file> fails a script if a previous job is still running. Sometimes is it not desired to have two instances of the same script running in parallel, because they could disrupt each other. By default I do not allow two parallel executions on the same job.

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