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I am attempting to create a tmux status bar which shows three timezones: US Eastern Time :: UTC :: Central European Time. Using the TZ environment variable makes the date command show the time in a given timezone.

I was attempting to do so with this tmux.conf setting:

set -g status-right "#[fg=white]#S #I:#P #[fg=yellow]:: %d %b %Y #[fg=green]:: #(TZ=America/New_York date +%H:%M) :: #(date -u +%H:%M) UTC :: #(TZ=Europe/Belgrade date +%H:%M)"

However, passing TZ=foo does not work inside of #(…). (I get the server date instead of what I expected). Any suggestions?

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up vote 12 down vote accepted

Tmux expands time formats with strftime in status-left and status-right before it expands #(…) and other sharp escape sequences. So %H:%M is expanded to the local time first, and date runs with an argument that is already numeric.

Double the percent signs.

set -g status-right "#[fg=white]#S #I:#P #[fg=yellow]:: %d %b %Y #[fg=green]:: #(TZ=America/New_York date +%%H:%%M) :: #(TZ=UTC date -u +%%H:%%M) UTC :: #(TZ=Europe/Belgrade date +%%H:%%M)"

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Thank you!!! That was exactly the problem... :) – Excalibur Feb 19 '14 at 17:34

I am not familiar with tmux but I guess the problem is that #() does not work the same way like $() in the shell.

The problem may be solved by forcing the use of a shell:

#(bash -c 'TZ=Europe/Belgrade date +%H:%M')
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Unfortunately this doesn't work (in tmux 1.6, Gentoo). It's still printing the UTC date. – Excalibur Feb 18 '14 at 21:59
@Excalibur Quite strange. Try creating a wrapperscript (with TZ=Europe/Belgrade date +%H:%M) and #(/path/to/wrapperscript) – Hauke Laging Feb 18 '14 at 22:19
Yeah, that solution did occur to me. Although since this tmux.conf is set dynamically using Chef, I'm hesitant to add any external dependencies. Perhaps I should file an issue with tmux. Thanks though! – Excalibur Feb 18 '14 at 23:47

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