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Download of the day: Easy date manipulation with yest utility under Linux/UNIX

All these years I was using *all dirty shell script hacks* to create my own date manipulation utilities for backups and other admin task. Thanks to this project no more dirty work.

Recently our site visitor Milton left a comment about this nice utility. This utility is very good if you would like to do lots of date manipulation or to crate report/log file names with date in filename.

From the project home page:
yest is a command line date/time manipulation and formatting program, very useful in scripts. You can easily add or subtract days, hours and/or minutes from a specified date. It supports all date command output formats plus more.

This program is called “yest” because the default is to output yesterday’s date. This utility knows about leap year, aylight savings time, and such variations.

Task: Install yest

Download yest from project home page. Or use wget command as follows:
$ cd /tmp
$ wget http://easynews.dl.sourceforge.net/sourceforge/yest/yest-

Untar the source code:
$ tar -zxvf yest-

Compile and install binary
$ su -
# gcc -o /usr/bin/yest yest-

Install man page:
# cp yest- yest.1
# gzip yest.1
# cp yest.1.gz /usr/share/man/man1/

How do I use yest?

Following command will display yesterdays date (default):
$ date
Thu Oct 12 23:45:24 IST 2006
$ yest

Display the date ten days ago (-10 or +10 next 10 days)
$ date
Thu Oct 12 23:46:23 IST 2006

$ yest -10

$ yest +10

Format date in dd-mm-yyyy:
$ yest -10 "%d-%m-%Y"

Get more help
$ yest --help
$ man yest

yest in action

So to executing a script/command on the last day of a month, I was using following script:
#! /bin/bash
TOM=$(TZ=MST-24 date +%d)
if [ $TOM -eq 1 ]; then
# commands or script on the last day of a month

But with yest it is just one line shell script :D
[ $(yest +0 "%d") -eq $(yest "%L") ] && /path/to/mytask || :

=> yest Download is highly recommended tool for all seasoned UNIX admin.

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{ 7 comments… add one }
  • tiger October 13, 2006, 7:41 pm

    what about using AT or CRON?

    > at 00:00 Aug 31
    script goes here

  • nixCraft October 14, 2006, 10:57 am


    Sometime you have 29, 28 (leap year), 30, 31 as month-end day. Sometime day pattern get repeated as 31, 31 (july, aug).

    I don\’t just wanna keep changing at command according to month. I manage 100 of boxes I don\’t have time to keep writing at command for each box. So this tool makes for sense to me.

  • bleh October 14, 2006, 12:24 pm

    ehm… you have never tried

    date -d “yesterday” or date -d “+10 days” have you?

    date already does all this…

  • Don Eytel March 21, 2007, 8:33 pm

    Problem compiling an idea.

    gcc -o /home/deytel/bin/yest /home/deytel/yest-
    /home/deytel/yest- In function `main’:
    /home/deytel/yest- structure has no member named `tm_zone’

  • nixCraft March 22, 2007, 10:00 am

    May be you need headers files…

  • Robert June 13, 2007, 5:43 pm

    What about when timezone identifiers change?
    Like MST to MDT?

  • Yogesh August 13, 2007, 12:46 pm

    gr8 …. its rocks on tru64
    i hav used following command to compile

    cc -o yest yest-
    now i can do all date manuculation as i used to do it with GNU date


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