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Re: man date

From: Bob Proulx
Subject: Re: man date
Date: Mon, 18 Mar 2002 21:48:58 -0700

Thank your for your report.  It is most appreciated.  However what you
have seen is not a bug but normal program behavior.

> in date's manual page i read:
> -s, --set=STRING
> but i could change the date only with:
> date -s22:00:00 +%T
> why the equal sign if?

It is not clear to me exactly what you are asking.  The -s and --set
options take a string argument.  The format of the string argument is
very flexible and can be in many formats including your 22:00:00
example.  But probably the format most expect is either mail rfc
format such as "date --set='Mon, 25 Mar 1996 23:34:17 -0600'" or some
other such mostly human readable format.  The formats are documented
in the 'info date' online documentation in the 'Date input formats'
section of the manual.

The -s / --set options are useful GNU extensions.  The traditional
date command only reads packed decimal format 'MMDDhhmm[[CC]YY][.ss]'
which means something like "date 032523341996.17" for the above
example.  I think most agree that while computers read that last well
humans read the first example better.

The = sign is an optional part of long named options such as --set.
You can either use --set=STRING or --set STRING as is your choice.

> i could also read "FORMAT controls the output". If FORMAT option is has
> no sense with -s option, and i use it nevetheless i wish to see a
> warning or error.

I did not try it, but probably a +format option in conjunction with
--set should probably at least generate a warning.  The date command
is becoming a very complicated command.


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