Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I was running the CentOS installer, and was surprised that I couldn't find UTC when prompted for the timezone.

The only available choices are:

  • Etc/GMT
  • Etc/GMT±[1-12]
  • Etc/UTC

However, I recently learned that Etc/UTC is not the same as UTC.

So why is only Etc/UTC proposed and not UTC?

share|improve this question
Can't you use TZ='UTC-0' which is a posix compatible TZ format in your /etc/profile (after installation of course)? – zero0 Mar 20 '13 at 9:52

You should see a list of possible timezones in

ls /usr/share/zoneinfo

at the top level should be UTC. To change the timezone of the server, you need to change (or set) the symbolic link /etc/localtime (after you found the location of UTC in zoneinfo directory above)

rm -f /etc/localtime
ln -s /usr/share/zoneinfo/UTC /etc/localtime

more info

share|improve this answer
Thanks for this info. Any idea why it's not proposed during installation, then? – Benjamin Mar 20 '13 at 11:41
On my system UTC is at the top - my guess is that 'etc' means the same as in '/etc' i.e. 'etcetera' (since UTC is not part of a continent, they had to put it somewhere if not at the top, etc sounds like a good destination on a Unix based system) – ringø Mar 20 '13 at 11:46

Per IANA's time zone database, Etc/UTC is the specifier for the timezone whose display name is UTC -- that is, it's UTC. So the premise of your question is incorrect.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.