Linux is Smarter Than Me

April 04, 2004

Tonight, while I was using my computer, I noticed that my clock was an hour fast. I reved up my clock applet to set the date and time. However, when I tried to adjust the clock to 2:45am it game me an error "Can not set date." WTF?

At first I thought it was a problem with the program, so I tried a few more things and received the same cryptic message. I knew it was time for some commandline action using the `date` command. I quickly scanned the man page and issued

bash$ date 04040245

only to be denied with the message "invalid date." At this point I was thoroughly confused. Other dates worked, but not the hours between 2:00 and 3:00 am on April 04, 2004.

I went to my roommate and he informed me that tonight was a daylight-savings time change. Then it all made sense. The hour between 2:00 am and 3:00 am on Apr 04, 2004 doesn't technically exist. Mathmatically it is a legal date, but according to the calendar rules, it does not exist. Incredible. Hence, I arrive at my conclusion; Linux is smarter than me.

Posted at 03:00 AM in Linux | Permalink Icon Permalink

2 Comments from the Peanut Gallery

1 | Posted by Jason on July 23, 2004 at 05:21 PM EST

Fascinating...just who is this braniac friend of yours?

2 | Posted by Dan Allen on July 24, 2004 at 01:47 PM EST

Well, he just let me know that it was daylight savings time. I then figured out that if the clock had to move forward an hour, then it meant that an hour had to be skipped.

What facinated me was that the calendar program was smart enough to recognize that exact hour as being invalid for that particular time zone. It just goes to show the detail that goes into to these programs.