I'm running Arch ARM on a PogoPlug and want to execute a file every hour, the file when call directly runs fine (it is executable), for testing the file



date >> /root/log

First I copied it to /etc/cron.daily but it wouldn't run, run-parts --test lists it as valid but nothing shows in the log file, then I created a crontab:

*/5 * * * * /etc/cron.hourly/crontest

To run it every 5 minutes while monitoring the logfile, it doesn't fire.

This is /etc/cron.d/0hourly

# Run the hourly jobs
01 * * * * root run-parts /etc/cron.hourly


journalctl -u cronie

just returns

-- Logs begin at Wed 1969-12-31 17:00:03 MST, end at Tue 2014-01-28 10:14:12 MST. --

So even though the PogoPlug doesn't have a rtc it has the correct time via ntp. What else can I do to debug cron / get it to run?

I'm tempted to just write a bash script that loops and sleeps x amount of seconds, but I'd rather figure this one out :-)

  • You must have the incrond or some cron daemon running. Basically, it is a process which monitors all the cron files and does something like the script you are tempted to write. Cron has a cost and in some embedded systems, like the PogoPlug, it may not be running. Try ps -ef (maybe just ps with BusyBox) and see if cron is running. Jan 28, 2014 at 17:56
  • If need be, there's a cleaner way of doing it without cron.
    – Notlikethat
    Jan 28, 2014 at 20:57
  • ps didn't show any cron entries so I ran crond by hand, is that the correct way to launch it?
    – gletscher
    Jan 29, 2014 at 2:00

2 Answers 2


Try user crontab -e to configure your cron. It will check your syntax of cron and it will save cron based on user. So /var/spool/cron/'user' will be the path.

  • Thank you for the answer, I did use crontab -e and the /var/spool/cron/root file reads */5 * * * * /etc/cron.hourly/crontest
    – gletscher
    Jan 28, 2014 at 17:42
  • did you tried run cron at shell with -f cron -f and see what happens?.. change the log dir to /tmp too, maybe you have some sort of security app like apparmor
    – BrenoZan
    Jan 28, 2014 at 18:17
  • 1
    cron -f -bash: cron: command not found
    – gletscher
    Jan 28, 2014 at 20:02
  • no apparmor or the like, just plain arch arm (alarm)
    – gletscher
    Jan 28, 2014 at 20:02

You need to make sure cronie is started. You can do so with the following command:

systemctl start cronie

This command will enable cronie to start on boot:

systemctl enable cronie

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