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Old 09-04-2004, 07:35 AM   #1
Registered: May 2004
Location: Israel
Distribution: Debian
Posts: 98

Rep: Reputation: 15
date command and the use of %Z tag

hello everyone,

I've read the man page for date on my fedora 2, there it says that [date] program get's it time zone definition from a few places.
I've checked my SET env -- no TZ there, i looked at /etc/localtime -- no go.
Now what i really don't understand is how to pass the "%Z" parameter back to date ?
-- could you please show me the correct syntax to use ?

Further more, why do i even need to pass it to date ? as far as i know time is a motherboard function -- why date need's to know my time zone? or does it calculate based on the time zone i pass to it the correct time to save on the mother board ?

if i talk too much - sorry - i'm new - please understand this
if you have intention to answer - thank you - please make it as detailed as you can - i really would like to understand this subject.

thanks, maxim.
Old 09-04-2004, 12:25 PM   #2
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Registered: May 2003
Location: London, UK
Distribution: Debian "Testing"
Posts: 6,096

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date +%Z

On my machine this returns


Because I am in the UK and we are on "British Summer Time" = "BST". We go back to "Greenwich Mean Time" = "GMT" in the winter, and have to change all our clocks.

Date is quite complicated if you think about it, and remember that "Date" is also a sort of "Time".
Imagine a network of computers all around the world (Er, an "internet"?). In each place their LOCAL time is probably set to a different time, although they are all conected together "now". Suppose I send you an email at 16:00 my local time. You might receive it at 19:00 your local time. Did the email take 3hrs to reach you? No.

So linux needs timezones to adjust for local differences. Internally, it keeps a completely different measure of time, and this is translated into local time, or whatever you want, by the arguments you pass to date.

If I type date now I get:
Sat Sep 4 17:07:45 BST 2004
You would get something different, because you live a long way East of me.

But if we both typed date -u at the same time, we would get the same dates/times returned.

Hope this helps.
Old 09-04-2004, 01:15 PM   #3
Registered: May 2004
Location: Israel
Distribution: Debian
Posts: 98

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
Yes it does, i also found this link which helped me.

thank you.

Last edited by hq4ever; 09-04-2004 at 01:16 PM.


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