This is an OpenSuse Leap 42.1 and I don't know why or how this happens:

$ date
Tue 18 Apr 10:49:34 -03 2017

The timezone appears as -03 (or -02) instead of a meaningful name (In my case, BRT/BRST). Tried to search that but this seems to be so obscure that the results are always in the form "how to change timezone"

EDIT: Replies to comments:

$ date +%Z
$ timedatectl
      Local time: Tue 2017-04-18 11:38:26 -03
  Universal time: Tue 2017-04-18 14:38:26 UTC
        RTC time: Tue 2017-04-18 14:38:26
        Timezone: America/Sao_Paulo (-03, -0300)
     NTP enabled: yes
NTP synchronized: yes
 RTC in local TZ: no
  • What is the output of date +%Z
    – ob_dev
    Commented Apr 18, 2017 at 14:05
  • What is the output of timedatectl ?
    – Mio Rin
    Commented Apr 18, 2017 at 14:12

2 Answers 2


That's how it's now defined at the IANA official standard timezone database

See ftp://ftp.iana.org/tz/tzdb-2017b/southamerica

The name for the timezone in Winter time is -03. That corresponds to the UTC offset. It's more useful than things like CET that are ambiguous (mean different things to different people).

That apparently changed recently. Compare ftp://ftp.iana.org/tz/tzdb-2017a/southamerica (2017-02-28) with ftp://ftp.iana.org/tz/tzdb-2016j/southamerica (2016-11-23) that had BRT instead.

The NEWS file for the 2017a release states:

Switch to numeric time zone abbreviations for South America, as part of the ongoing project of removing invented abbreviations. This avoids the need to invent an abbreviation for the new Chilean new zone. Similarly, switch from invented to numeric time zone abbreviations for Afghanistan, American Samoa, the Azores, Bangladesh, Bhutan, the British Indian Ocean Territory, Brunei, Cape Verde, Chatham Is, Christmas I, Cocos (Keeling) Is, Cook Is, Dubai, East Timor, Eucla, Fiji, French Polynesia, Greenland, Indochina, Iran, Iraq, Kiribati, Lord Howe, Macquarie, Malaysia, the Maldives, Marshall Is, Mauritius, Micronesia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nauru, Nepal, New Caledonia, Niue, Norfolk I, Palau, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Pitcairn, Qatar, Réunion, St Pierre & Miquelon, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Singapore, Solomon Is, Tokelau, Tuvalu, Wake, Vanuatu, Wallis & Futuna, and Xinjiang; for 20-minute daylight saving time in Ghana before 1943; for half-hour daylight saving time in Belize before 1944 and in the Dominican Republic before 1975; and for Canary Islands before 1946, for Guinea-Bissau before 1975, for Iceland before 1969, for Indian Summer Time before 1942, for Indonesia before around 1964, for Kenya before 1960, for Liberia before 1973, for Madeira before 1967, for Namibia before 1943, for the Netherlands in 1937-9, for Pakistan before 1971, for Western Sahara before 1977, and for Zaporozhye in 1880-1924.

Usually, you'd be able to specify the names for Winter and Summer time and the rules for when to change from one to the other by hand in the TZ variable, but it looks like for Brazil, it's not really possible as according to that timezone database:

http://www.planalto.gov.br/ccivil_03/_Ato2007-2010/2008/Decreto/D6558.htm [t]he DST period in Brazil now on will be from the 3rd Oct Sunday to the 3rd Feb Sunday. There is an exception on the return date when this is the Carnival Sunday then the return date will be the next Sunday...

There's no way to specify this kind of exception in the simple TZ rule specification.

  • Seems like they may have overlooked the fact that putting an abbreviation in the tzdata file had effectively trained everyone that it is the standard representation.
    – user41515
    Commented Apr 18, 2017 at 15:43
  • DST is currently defined as third sunday in October to the third sunday in February, if that weekend is not Carnival. Otherwise, we get an extra week.
    – user666412
    Commented Apr 18, 2017 at 16:40
  • @user666412, that's already mentioned at the end of the answer. Commented Apr 18, 2017 at 16:54
  • True. Sorry about that.
    – user666412
    Commented Apr 18, 2017 at 16:57

Edit the file /etc/sysconfig/clock with following options and reboot it


Note: Mention the timezone as per your timezone

  • This seems to be very distribution dependent, I guess you didn't check the current distribution of the user
    – ob_dev
    Commented Apr 18, 2017 at 14:01

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