Listing the available timezones shows 'UTC'

$ timedatectl list-timezones

Setting it to UTC fails claiming UTC is "invalid".

$ timedatectl set-timezone UTC
Failed to set time zone: Invalid time zone 'UTC'

This is on Ubuntu 19.10 (Google Cloud)

$ lsb_release -a
No LSB modules are available.
Distributor ID: Ubuntu
Description:  Ubuntu 19.10
Release:  19.10
Codename: eoan

Why is this failing?



You are missing Area code defined in the official tz database.

The time zone format is Area/Location. For most zones, the Area is a continent and the Location is a major city. For example, America/Montreal, Africa/Tunis, Asia/Tokyo, and Pacific/Auckland. Peruse this list.

Administrative zones have a special area: Etc. Therefore, the correct name for Coordinated Universal Time is Etc/UTC.

  • 5
    When running timedatectl list-timezones, all of the other time zones are in the format Area/Location. The output of ` timedatectl list-timezones | grep UTC` is just "UTC". Who thought it was a good idea to do that instead of making the output Etc/UTC?
    – RonJohn
    Nov 9 '19 at 15:11
  • 2
    @RonJohn In 2014, Lennart added this code, which explicitly lists "UTC". Nov 9 '19 at 22:38
  • 4
    @RolandIllig why am I utterly and completely, 100% not surprised???
    – RonJohn
    Nov 9 '19 at 22:59
  • 1
    What I am surprised about is that even after 5 years, there is no bug report about this topic. I also cannot find any unit tests for this code in the commit. 😛 Nov 9 '19 at 23:20
  • 1
    @RonJohn: My system (tzdata 2019c-2) has /usr/share/zoneinfo/UTC with no area prefix, and I see glibc's own source tree containing tests with setenv ("TZ", "UTC", 1) implying that it is a valid value... so the question isn't why timedatectl lists the name, but rather why it rejects the name.
    – user1686
    Nov 10 '19 at 22:35

Appears to be a bug in your distro, they should package /usr/share/zoneinfo/UTC unconditionally, even if no other timezone data is installed. Please report this to your distribution.


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