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"minttime.doc" from the official MiNT-Documentation of the latest kernal release.

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MiNT time management

Beginning with kernel version 1.14.8 the time related functions of
MiNT have drastically changed.  Don't worry if you have missed to
read this documentation until now; if you don't use the new facilities
you can't mess up anything.  The new stuff is 100 % compatible
with the old time interface of the kernel.

1. Standard TOS time

Earlier versions of MiNT have inherited the standard TOS time
setting (and retrieval) functions.  The only difference was that
changing the system time required super-user privileges.

The TOS time functions had one major short-coming.  The internal
representation of a calendar time caused a maximum resolution of
two seconds for the system time.  Furthermore, timezones were
completely ignored;  evaluating user-supplied timezone information
was left to software.

2. New MiNT features

As a default the MiNT kernel clock now ticks in UTC (Universal
Time Coordinated, GMT or Greenwich Mean Time is more or less
a synonyme for that).  You can also tell the kernel about the
timezone that you're living in.  Programs that request
local times from the kernel will get values corrected according
to the timezone settings you have supplied.

No, again, don't worry.  As long as you haven't set the timezone
explicitely, no correction will take place, no mess, the kernel
will believe that you live in London/UK and that there is no
such thing as daylight savings time.

3. How to use them?

The user-level (resp. system-administrator-level) interface to
the new time facilities is the `tzinit' program.  You should
add the following lines to your MiNT configuration file mint.cnf:

	# Set the system-wide time zone information
	setenv TZ CET-1CEST-2,M3.5.0/2,M10.5.0/3

	# Uncomment the following line if you want to make
	# the kernel clock tick in local time.
	# setenv MINT_CLOCKMODE "local"

	# Make the time zone known to the kernel.
	exec u:\usr\sbin\tzinit

The setting for the TZ environment variable shown here is just
an example (which is valid for a large part of Western and 
Middle European countries).  For more detailed information
about timezones and the meaning of the environment variable
`TZ' see the separate file `timezone.doc'.

As you might have guessed, you should install the tzinit
program as /usr/sbin/tzinit but any other place will do.

The `tzinit' program will do two things:  
First, it evaluates the current setting of the TZ variable 
and sets the kernel timezone accordingly.  
It will then check the variable `MINT_CLOCKMODE'.  
If it doesn't exist, is empty or contains the strings 
`UTC' or `GMT' it will do nothing.  Every other
value will cause it to tell the kernel that the time that
comes from the hardware-clock is actually a local time (see
the discussion in the next section).

Because the `tzinit' program changes kernel time information
it needs super-user privileges to run (don't worry about
that if you run it from mint.cnf or from one of the /etc/rc
files).  Insufficient privileges are actually the only possible
reasons for `tzinit' to fail.

The `tzinit' program has one major bug:  It should actually
be a daemon that waits and changes the kernel time information
if daylight savings time (DST) for your timezone starts or end
while your machine is running.  Thus, when your local time
changes from DST to standard time or standard time to DST
during your machine is running you should reboot.  In case 
your kernel clock ticks in local time you also have to change
the hardware clock by hand.

4. UTC vs. Local Time

You have the choice if you want the kernel clock to tick in UTC
or in local time.  Both alternatives have pros and cons:

	- UTC
	  This is the standard for `real' Eunuchs machines. A
	  major advantage is that you never have to change the
	  hardware clock whether or not DST applies or not.
	  If you sometimes run Linux or NetBSD on your machine
	  you will also welcome this possibility because
	  these operating systems feel much more comfortable with a 
	  hardware clock ticking in UTC.
	- local time
	  Deprecated, but probably better if you run other non-
	  Eunuchs-like operatings systems, too.  If your hardware
	  clock is actually fed by some radio time signal or
	  other source that provides the time in local representation
	  you also may need this setting.
	  The major disadvantage:  You have to ensure that you
	  change the hardware clock whenever DST starts or ends
	  (when running UTC it is sufficient to reboot).

5. The TZ Environment Variable

The TZ environment variable is the standard for setting timezone
information.  Not only the kernel (via `tzinit') but all software
on your system that process calendar times evaluate it.  For an
overview please see the file `timezone.doc'.

6. Other user-visible changes

The kernel time now has an accuracy of approximately 26 microseconds
and a resolution of 1 microsecond (the old interface provided a maximum 
accuracy of 2 seconds).  Provided that your software gets adapted to 
the new MiNT features you will see that the accuracy is increased.

If you are not a programmer or not particularly interested in the
internals you can skip the rest of this file.

7. Obsoleted system calls

TOS provides four time related system calls:

	- Tgettime
	  Get the time of the day.
	- Tgetdate
	  Get the current date.
	- Tsettime
	  Set the time of the day.  Under MiNT this call is
	  reserved to the super-user.
	- Tsetdate
	  Set the current date.  This is of course also reserved
	  to the super-use under MiNT.

It was common understanding among software developers that these
facilities return the time and date in local time representation
and that time and date values passed to the time setting functions
also expect the time in local representation.

These facilities are still supported by the MiNT kernel for
compatibility reasons but their use is deprecated now.  Yet, software
that still uses these calls can rely on the old behavior, i.e.
Tsettime and Tsetdate still expect local times, and Tgettime
and Tgetdate still return local times.

8. New system calls

With MiNT 1.14.8 two new system calls are introduced in the kernel:

	long Tgettimeofday (long tv, long tzp);
	long Tsettimeofday (long tv, long tzp);

The opcode for Tgettimeofday is 0x155, the opcode for Tsettimeofday
is 0x156.  Please change your library binding if you want to
use them.

The argument TV is actually a pointer to the following structure:

	struct timeval {
	  long int tv_sec;
	  long int tv_usec;

The argument TZP is a pointer to the structure

	struct timezone {
	  long int tz_minuteswest;
	  long int tz_dsttime; 

The member TV_SEC of the TV argument holds the number of seconds 
elapsed since the epoch.  The epoch is "Thu, Jan 1 1970 00:00:00 UTC".
The member TV_USEC of TV holds the fractional part of TV_SEC measured
in microseconds.

The member TZ_MINUTESWEST of TZ holds the offset to UTC in second.
Timezones east of the zero-meridian (e.g. Eastern Europe) have a 
negative value, timezones west of the zero-meridian (e.g. America)
have a positive value.  The member TZ_DSTTIME is non-zero if daylight
savings time applies during some part of the year.

Implementors of library bindings should be aware that the definition
of `struct timezone' is non-standard.  The members are actually `int'
and not `long int' (this applies only to struct timezone; the members
of `struct timeval' are always longs).  16-bit libraries will have
to copy the contents of the structure that TZP points to.

You may safely pass NULL for either arguments.  This isn't considered
an error.

Both functions return zero for success or a negative error value
for failure (in fact Tgettimeofday can never fail).  The following error 
conditions are defined:

	EACCDN - An attempt was made by a user without super-user
	         privileges to change the system time or system
	ERANGE - One of the arguments is out of range.  Note that
	         the kernel time cannot be set to dates before
	         Jan 1 1980 00:00:00 and after some day in 2038
	         (yep, MAX_LONG seconds since the epoch).
	         Timezone offsets must be in the range of 
	         +/- 720 minutes.

The TZ_DSTTIME member of TZP is stored but not evaluated within
the kernel.  Beware not to misunderstand its meaning:  If non-zero
it simply signifies that daylight savings time apply during some
part of the year, not necessarily now.  In other words:  If it
is non-zero someday it should be non-zero during the entire year.

The Ssystem call has a new command `CLOCK_MODE' (see the file
`ssystem.doc' for details).  This command allows to retrieve
or set the kernel clock mode, i.e. to specify whether the
hardware clock is meant to run in UTC or in local time.

9. Future enhancements

It is planned to make MiNT compliant with the kernel time keeping
model described in RFC1305.  This model is already successfully
implemented in operating systems such as SunOS, Ultrix, OSF/1, HP-UX
and Linux.  Please expect the internal realization to change in
the future.

10. Bugs

Many, many time-keeping variables inside the kernel use the old
TOS format (which is more or less derived from MS-DOS).  This
was probably short-sighted and it causes difficulties now:  You
can really confuse the system if you keep on changing the system
timezone or the kernel clock mode too often.  Timestamps can
get corrupted and processes that rely on precise timing can
get confused.  Thus, you are strongly discouraged to change
the system timezone or the kernel clock mode from somewhere else
than `mint.cnf'.  In mint.cnf you should call the `tzinit'
program as soon as possible.

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Last Update: Thu Apr 27 22:05 MET 2000     by