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NorthWatcher is cron for filesystem changes.

Each line in your watch file specifies a directory to watch and a command to run when changes occur in that directory. You may optionally specify the kind of changes that will trigger the command.

Lines that begin with # are comments. No trailing comments.

The watch file resides at ~/.northwatcher and looks like this:

# triggers when files are created or removed in /etc

# triggerz when you save pikcherz of teh kittehz
+ Pictures rbx post-to-twitter.rb

# triggers when files are removed from the ~/todo directory
- todo

So each line has an optional trigger followed by a directory and then a command. The triggers are:

  • +: files are created
  • -: files are removed

You can use one or both of these, if you omit the trigger then both creations and removals are monitored.

No frills.

Potential Gotchas

No spaces in filenames.

If you actually want to watch /etc it seems like you need root privs. I don't need this behaviour so I'm not likely to fix it.


Node nerd? It's just an npm i --global northwatcher away. Otherwise you'll need to install node and npm and then run the aforementioned command.

Once it's installed just run northwatcher from the command line. It does not daemonize itself, it only logs to stdout, and it doesn't run at startup. It's barely beyond "hack" status.


Copyright 2011 Sami Samhuri

MIT License


cron for filesystem changes



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