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How do I change the timezone on a RHEL5 system? I'm reading the instructions here -

But they seem very bold (altering the /etc/localtime file).

Is this an acceptable practice (steps from link below):

Generic procedure to change timezone
Change directory to /etc
# cd /etc
Create a symlink to file localtime:
# ln -sf /usr/share/zoneinfo/EST localtime
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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Yes, this is exactly what I did to an RHEL5 box two days ago, and it worked fine (with the difference that I hard-linked the file, not soft-linked, but I don't see there should be much difference).

If there is already a localtime file in place it is perhaps best to move the old one aside and put the new one in place in one operation:

cd /etc; mv localtime localtime.orig; ln /usr/share/zoneinfo/EST localtime
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Did that - seems to work out fine... – siliconpi Oct 19 '10 at 13:22
Glad to hear it! – MadHatter Oct 19 '10 at 13:40

It works, but the traditional RedHat way is to use a system-config-* utility. In this case, it'd be system-config-time.

timeconfig also does the job.

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Your point is copmpletely fair and accurate, but I tend to prefer to do things in a non-distro-specific way if at all possible. The recipe above should work on all linuces, and probably solaris and a few other POSIXy unices too. – MadHatter Oct 25 '10 at 8:48

I've been using the symlink method for years, but that's the wrong way. Because when the tzdata package gets updated the symlink gets blown away. Instead:

  1. set the wanted zone in the file /etc/sysconfig/clock where the zone= value is the filename for the zone you want from /usr/share/zoneinfo, but without that full path. For instance: zone="America/Chicago"

  2. rm /etc/localtime

  3. cp /usr/share/zoneinfo/America/Chicago /etc/localtime

    using Chicago is just an example.

  4. date

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