(coreutils.info)Formatting file timestamps
10.1.6 Formatting file timestamps
By default, file timestamps are listed in abbreviated form. Most
locales use a timestamp like `2002-03-30 23:45'. However, the default
POSIX locale uses a date like `Mar 30 2002' for non-recent timestamps,
and a date-without-year and time like `Mar 30 23:45' for recent
A timestamp is considered to be "recent" if it is less than six
months old, and is not dated in the future. If a timestamp dated today
is not listed in recent form, the timestamp is in the future, which
means you probably have clock skew problems which may break programs
like `make' that rely on file timestamps.
Time stamps are listed according to the time zone rules specified by
the `TZ' environment variable, or by the system default rules if `TZ'
is not set. Note: Specifying the Time Zone with `TZ'.
The following option changes how file timestamps are printed.
List timestamps in style STYLE. The STYLE should be one of the
List timestamps using FORMAT, where FORMAT is interpreted
like the format argument of `date' (Note: date invocation).
For example, `--time-style="+%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S"' causes `ls'
to list timestamps like `2002-03-30 23:45:56'. As with
`date', FORMAT's interpretation is affected by the `LC_TIME'
If FORMAT contains two format strings separated by a newline,
the former is used for non-recent files and the latter for
recent files; if you want output columns to line up, you may
need to insert spaces in one of the two formats.
List timestamps in full using ISO 8601 date, time, and time
zone format with nanosecond precision, e.g., `2002-03-30
23:45:56.477817180 -0700'. This style is equivalent to
`+%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S.%N %z'.
This is useful because the time output includes all the
information that is available from the operating system. For
example, this can help explain `make''s behavior, since GNU
`make' uses the full timestamp to determine whether a file is
out of date.
List ISO 8601 date and time in minutes, e.g., `2002-03-30
23:45'. These timestamps are shorter than `full-iso'
timestamps, and are usually good enough for everyday work.
This style is equivalent to `+%Y-%m-%d %H:%M'.
List ISO 8601 dates for non-recent timestamps (e.g.,
`2002-03-30 '), and ISO 8601 month, day, hour, and minute for
recent timestamps (e.g., `03-30 23:45'). These timestamps
are uglier than `long-iso' timestamps, but they carry nearly
the same information in a smaller space and their brevity
helps `ls' output fit within traditional 80-column output
lines. The following two `ls' invocations are equivalent:
ls -l --time-style="+%Y-%m-%d $newline%m-%d %H:%M"
ls -l --time-style="iso"
List timestamps in a locale-dependent form. For example, a
Finnish locale might list non-recent timestamps like `maalis
30 2002' and recent timestamps like `maalis 30 23:45'.
Locale-dependent timestamps typically consume more space than
`iso' timestamps and are harder for programs to parse because
locale conventions vary so widely, but they are easier for
many people to read.
The `LC_TIME' locale category specifies the timestamp format.
The default POSIX locale uses timestamps like `Mar 30 2002'
and `Mar 30 23:45'; in this locale, the following two `ls'
invocations are equivalent:
ls -l --time-style="+%b %e %Y$newline%b %e %H:%M"
ls -l --time-style="locale"
Other locales behave differently. For example, in a German
locale, `--time-style="locale"' might be equivalent to
`--time-style="+%e. %b %Y $newline%e. %b %H:%M"' and might
generate timestamps like `30. Ma"r 2002 ' and `30. Ma"r
List POSIX-locale timestamps if the `LC_TIME' locale category
is POSIX, STYLE timestamps otherwise. For example, the
`posix-long-iso' style lists timestamps like `Mar 30 2002'
and `Mar 30 23:45' when in the POSIX locale, and like
`2002-03-30 23:45' otherwise.
You can specify the default value of the `--time-style' option with
the environment variable `TIME_STYLE'; if `TIME_STYLE' is not set the
default style is `locale'. GNU Emacs 21.3 and later use the `--dired'
option and therefore can parse any date format, but if you are using
Emacs 21.1 or 21.2 and specify a non-POSIX locale you may need to set
To avoid certain denial-of-service attacks, timestamps that would be
longer than 1000 bytes may be treated as errors.
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