Delay is a program that counts down the number of seconds specified on its command line. In this way, it's sort of like the standard sleep(1) command, except for the fact that it provides feedback of the time remaining, such as:

       Time Remaining: 0 days, 01:59:19.

It allows for short, long, and customized messages for the display of the time remaining. It also attempts to compensate for the time used in printing the message, so there should be no inaccuracy proportional to the amount of time to be delayed, above and beyond the time it takes for the program to start up and shut down.

It also allows for specification of a time to delay until. For example, one could tell it to delay until a time specification:

       delay until 6:00 pm wednesday

It can also execute a command when time runs out. (This is safer than putting the two together in a shell script, since if delay is killed, the command will not run.)

       delay 5m -- cdplay

I've decided to release this source on the off chance that someone else will find this program useful.


The current version is 1.6 which was released 09 February 2002. Please see the change log for details of what's new in this version.

A FreeBsd port is maintained by Gianmarco Giovannelli.

All released versions are still available on the web.


Delay is maintained by Tom Rothamel, who can be reached at tom at

You may want to return to the software page, or to Tom's top page.