The following crontab does not work:

*/1 * * * * /bin/echo 'test '`/bin/date +%Y-%m-%d` >> /tmp/test

I also tried starting it with:


Update: I thought the backtick characters ` were the villains, but as the answer below clarifies the percentage % was the culprit!

  • Your test line will run only once each hour. That may not be what you intended for testing.
    – user535733
    Mar 13, 2014 at 23:04
  • isn't the first the minute?# m h dom mon dow command
    – lpanebr
    Mar 14, 2014 at 1:04
  • You are right.. I changed to */1 to make it run every minute.The cron is running fine. There is something with the commands. It seems to be the /bin/date +%Y-%m-%d
    – lpanebr
    Mar 14, 2014 at 1:49

1 Answer 1


In /bin/date +%Y-%m-%d, you need to escape each % with \ according to this man page:

The "sixth" field (the rest of the line) specifies the command to be run. The entire command portion of the line, up to a newline or % character, will be executed by /bin/sh or by the shell specified in the SHELL variable of the cronfile. Percent-signs (%) in the command, unless escaped with backslash (), will be changed into newline characters, and all data after the first % will be sent to the command as standard input.

  • 2
    thanks! I will edit the question so that it fits the real problem.
    – lpanebr
    Mar 14, 2014 at 13:11

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