I'm not quite sure what the standard is for spelling cron. Does one capitalize the whole word? Just the "C"? All lowercase? Is there even a standard, or do you just spell it in whatever way looks or suits best?

Some people say it's an acronym for "Command Run ON unix", others suggest it's derived from "chronos", the Greek word for "time", so I'm not sure.

1 Answer 1


The convention used in the Unix manuals, such as the cron man page from V7, is to capitalize the first letter of utility names when used at the beginning of a sentence, and to use their normal (almost always all-lowercase) spelling within sentences or when they're used in examples.

This convention is used even when the utility name is an acronym, such as dc - desk calculator.

User @Nobody pointed out in the comments that Debian's man pages always use the all-lowercase spelling, including at the beginning of a sentence. This appears to be an editorial decision; looking at the patch file in the Debian source for cron, patches are made to the original Vixie Cron man page, to change .I Cron to .I cron. This is also the case on Debian derivatives such as Ubuntu.

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    The Debian man page for cron uses all-lowercase spelling even at the beginning of sentences. All of the Debian man pages I just checked consistently used all-lowerccase spellings for command names.
    – Nobody
    Commented Aug 31, 2015 at 14:48
  • @Nobody Thank you. I've edited my answer to note that the convention was for Unix man pages, and added a paragraph about Debian man pages. Commented Aug 31, 2015 at 16:02

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