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Re: Setting local time.

Johannes Wiedersich wrote, in part:

Why don't you set up your system time via

# base-config

I was not aware of the existence of this package. I know that when I installed Sarge last July I had to set the time zone, but I must have gotten it wrong. By running aptitude I found this package installed in my system; it must have been installed last July. It would be useful if the description of this package in aptitude gave more details of what it confugures, instead of vaguely saying that it allows reconfiguration of "some things".

In any event I ran it just now and found that the KDE clock applet in the lower right corner of the panel now shows local time when it should, rather than UTC.

I use ntpdate to synchronize my clock at boot and ntp to keep it in sync while it is up. The default set-up (without changing any configuration files) of the two packages is to automatically find a suitable time server for you. Of course you could also point the config file manually to your trusted server(s). For typical scenarios this is a 'install and forget' solution.

If I understand ntp and ntpdate correctly, ntpdate correlates the the hardware clock at boot; whereas ntp periodically corrects the clock while the machine is running. Presumably then, on installation of these packages, they are configured to do what they are supposed to do when they are supposed to do it. Thus, ntpdate will run at boot, and ntp will run periodically.

As I have no need for the accuracy afforded by ntp, I installed only ntpdate and rebooted. I suppose that it correlated the hardware time of my computer to the host(s) it consulted, although I could find no evidence in either dmesg or syslog that it did so.

The rdate package, seems always to require to be run manually -- unlike ntpdate. Consequently I removed it.

I'm not 100% shure if this automatically sets summer and winter time, but if you shut off your computer in summer time and reboot it in winter time you're automatically done.

I mentioned in my original post that there was a symbolic link to /etc/localtime, but that that file did not exist. Well, after running base-config I found that another symbolic link had been created in the /etc/ directory: localtime -> /usr/share/zoneinfo/Canada/Eastern, thereby creating a two-link chain of symbolic links.

I expect that the target file of the second link will allow for switching time from winter to summer and the reverse. I will know for sure on 2 April 2006, when those parts of USA and Canada which use summer time will switch. (It would be useful if those parts of the Northern Hemisphere which use summer time could all switch on the same day.)

Please excuse the length of this response, but I am trying to increase my understanding of how Debian works. I would appreciate any corrections to my understandings as expressed above.


				Ken Heard
				Toronto, Canada
				Museologist, specializing in
				technology and transport

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