Linux / UNIX: Convert Epoch Seconds To the Current Time

Posted on in Categories , , last updated March 26, 2010

How do I convert Epoch seconds to the current time under UNIX or Linux operating systems?

Unix time, or POSIX time, is a system for describing points in time, defined as the number of seconds elapsed since midnight proleptic Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) of January 1, 1970, not counting leap seconds.

Print Current UNIX Time

Type the following command to display the seconds since the epoch:

date +%s

Sample outputs:
1268727836

Convert Epoch To Current Time

Type the command:

date -d @Epoch
date -d @1268727836
date -d "1970-01-01 1268727836 sec GMT"

Sample outputs:

Tue Mar 16 13:53:56 IST 2010

Please note that @ feature only works with latest version of date (GNU coreutils v5.3.0+). To convert number of seconds back to a more readable form, use a command like this:

date -d @1268727836 +"%d-%m-%Y %T %z"

Sample outputs:

16-03-2010 13:53:56 +0530
WARNING! Note that the date and awk command syntax may not work on all versions of UNIX. Please refer to your local man page.

AWK Example

echo 1268727836 | awk '{print strftime("%c",$1)}'

Perl Example

perl -e "print scalar(localtime(1268727836))"

See also:

  • Refer to your local date, and awk command man or info pages.

Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. He has worked with global clients and in various industries, including IT, education, defense and space research, and the nonprofit sector. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+.

5 comment

  1. How ridiculous that the date command could convert from local time format to epoch time, but not back the other way (except in newer versions). What an oversight. *n*x can boggle the mind at times.

    Even now the @1234567890 syntax isn’t even mentioned in the man page.

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