How do I setup date and time under FreeBSD operating system using a shell prompt?

Under FreeBSD you can use date command to display or set date and time. The date command displays the date and time read from the kernel clock. If you just type date command without any options (read as without arguments) the date command display the current date and time only.


FreeBSD Display todays date

Type date command as follows, to display todays date and time:
$ date
Output:
Thu Feb 9 23:43:19 IST 2006 FreeBSD set date and time

Only the superuser or root user may set the date under FreeBSD. General format of date command is as follows:
date yymmddhhmmss
Where,

  • yy : Year in two digit
  • mm : Month (1-12)
  • dd : Day (1-31)
  • hh : Hours (0..23)
  • mm : Minutes (0..59)
  • ss : Seconds (0..61)

For example following command set date to 12-Jan-2004, 4:27 PM (remember you must be a root user to set date and time)
# date 0401121627
Output:
Mon Jan 12 16:27:00 IST 2004 FreeBSD Set Time Without Modifying The Date

Type the following command to sets the time to 4:30 PM:
# date 1630
FreeBSD Setup Timezone

To setup corrct timezone you need to copy your timezone file from /usr/share/zoneinfo directory to /etc/localtime file. Just goto directory:
Code:
# cd /usr/share/zoneinfo
Use ls -l command to find out your zonefile.
Code:
# ls -l
For example I am in Asia/Culcatta (IST time zone) so I need to copy file as follows:
# cp /usr/share/zoneinfo/Asia/Calcutta /etc/localtime
date command and use of environment variable

You can also use TZ environment variable to display date and time according to your timezone. For example to display the current time in California you need to export TZ as follows (assuming that you are using bash shell):
Code:
# date
Output:
Fri Feb 10 00:39:59 IST 2006 Now use TZ variable:
Code:
# export TZ=America/Los_Angeles
# date
Output:
Thu Feb 9 11:10:08 PST 2006