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21.1 date: Print or set system date and time


date [option]… [+format]
date [-u|--utc|--universal] [ MMDDhhmm[[CC]YY][.ss] ]

Invoking date with no format argument is equivalent to invoking it with a default format that depends on the LC_TIME locale category. In the default C locale, this format is ‘'+%a %b %e %H:%M:%S %Z %Y'’, so the output looks like ‘Thu Mar  3 13:47:51 PST 2005’.

Normally, date uses the time zone rules indicated by the TZ environment variable, or the system default rules if TZ is not set. See (libc)TZ Variable section `Specifying the Time Zone with TZ' in The GNU C Library.

If given an argument that starts with a ‘+’, date prints the current date and time (or the date and time specified by the ‘--date’ option, see below) in the format defined by that argument, which is similar to that of the strftime function. Except for conversion specifiers, which start with ‘%’, characters in the format string are printed unchanged. The conversion specifiers are described below.

An exit status of zero indicates success, and a nonzero value indicates failure.

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