convert unix seconds to date in other format

Posted on 1999-01-06
Last Modified: 2010-04-21
Is there a straight forward use of `date` to change
"seconds since the epoch" to some other date format?
I've worked on this on the command line but the
following lines best illustrate the problem.

@fir$ date +%s >time_tmp
@fir$ date  >>time_tmp
@fir$ cat time_tmp
Wed Jan  6 15:26:05 PST 1999
@fir$ date  +%D%t%r -f time_tmp
date: invalid date ` 915665157'
01/06/99        03:26:05 PM

Question by:2ndgrade
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • +3
LVL 84

Expert Comment

ID: 2008652
perl -e 'print scalar localtime shift' 915665157
LVL 51

Expert Comment

ID: 2008653
which OS? (-f option  is used to parse another format string, not a file, usually)

How about using
   date -u
  env TZ=PST date    # or the timezone you prefer

LVL 22

Expert Comment

ID: 2008654
how about:

echo 0t915665157=Y | adb
      1999 Jan  6 18:25:57

Author Comment

ID: 2008655
I'm running linux and bash.
@fir$ perl --version
This is perl, version 5.005_02 built for i586-linux
@fir$ perl -e 'print scalar localtime shift' 915741046
yields this:
@fir$ n  7 12:30:46 1999@fir$
@fir$ echo 0t915665157=Y | adb
bash: adb: command not found
What is the command `adb` on what OS and shell? Does "0t" designate that the digits following are to be interpreted as a date in unix seconds?

@fir$ date --version
date (GNU sh-utils) 1.16
excerpt from date --help  is

  -f, --file=DATEFILE      like --date once for each line of DATEFILE

I thought accessing the date string from a file made the problem clearer than all the quote produced obfuscation on the command line when using date --date=`some command`.
I have seen logging done which uses unix seconds as the timestamp and expected that the date command would be capable of transforming a timestamp in whatever format to whatever other format. This seems to be true with the exception of going from unix seconds to any other format.

LVL 84

Expert Comment

ID: 2008656
You seem to have printed over the "Thu Ja".
perl -e 'print "\n".(localtime shift)."\n"' 915741046

Expert Comment

ID: 2008657
if u need a string like timestamp use
date +"%Y%m%d%H%M%S"
Maximize Your Threat Intelligence Reporting

Reporting is one of the most important and least talked about aspects of a world-class threat intelligence program. Here’s how to do it right.


Author Comment

ID: 2008658
There are any number of different date formats besides %Y%m%d%H%M%S  which could be called string-like. They aren't what's needed.
 What I want is date to do unix seconds->some other format.
I'm willing to be corrected, but I see nothing in the src for `date` which provides for doing this.
LVL 51

Expert Comment

ID: 2008659
> some other format
which format?
LVL 14

Expert Comment

ID: 2008660
Let's see, the requirement is that 'date' take seconds since the epoch as an argument and that you can use the already-there 'date' formatting directives to output a new date.  We also know that the source for the date command is available.

I'm fairly certain that no widely-available utility currently does this (though you'd think that someone would have modified date to do this long ago).

I'd say the easiest thing would be to modify the source to the date command.  Underneeth it all, date gets the current time from the time() system call.  Modify the code to add a new command-line option (say '-s seconds-since-epoch') and use the supplied argument instead of the result from the call to time().

You can do this even if you don't have permissions to install your version of date as the official/system version, since you can always modify your PATH to point at your version first.

Author Comment

ID: 2008661
Thanks for the comments.  Three weeks ago I wrote a wrapper for ctime() to do this job, deciding that it was more trouble than it was worth to maintain a local non-standard version of 'date'.
This question might as well get squashed.
LVL 14

Expert Comment

ID: 2008662
Thought of the ctime wrapper too, but decided that was more trouble than modifying date.   Oh well, either way.
LVL 14

Expert Comment

ID: 2008663
I suggest 2ndgrade submit his own answer and get the points :-)
LVL 14

Accepted Solution

chris_calabrese earned 100 total points
ID: 2008664
OK, since he hasn't done it yet, I'll do it.  The most appropriate answer for 2ngrade's problem is to write a ctime() wrapper :-)

Featured Post

How your wiki can always stay up-to-date

Quip doubles as a “living” wiki and a project management tool that evolves with your organization. As you finish projects in Quip, the work remains, easily accessible to all team members, new and old.
- Increase transparency
- Onboard new hires faster
- Access from mobile/offline

Join & Write a Comment

A metadevice consists of one or more devices (slices). It can be expanded by adding slices. Then, it can be grown to fill a larger space while the file system is in use. However, not all UNIX file systems (UFS) can be expanded this way. The conca…
I promised to write further about my project, and here I am.  First, I needed to setup the Primary Server.  You can read how in this article: Setup FreeBSD Server with full HDD encryption (…
Learn how to get help with Linux/Unix bash shell commands. Use help to read help documents for built in bash shell commands.: Use man to interface with the online reference manuals for shell commands.: Use man to search man pages for unknown command…
Learn how to navigate the file tree with the shell. Use pwd to print the current working directory: Use ls to list a directory's contents: Use cd to change to a new directory: Use wildcards instead of typing out long directory names: Use ../ to move…

758 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

Join & Ask a Question

Need Help in Real-Time?

Connect with top rated Experts

19 Experts available now in Live!

Get 1:1 Help Now