Thunderbird Timestamp

Published on 01.03.2018 - 12:13 - 2 minute read

Thunderbird has a American style for tracking dates and clocks. I dislike this format, because I tend to mix the times up. For example 12 AM is midnight and not noon. But when you’re not used to the 12-hour clock standard, AM and PM are not that simple to put your your mid on, it’s inconvenient.

Fun fact. In the world of IT you have thing like endianness. Endianness is a way to sort information. In most case a memory address for example: 0x12AB34,as an example for big endianness, where the MSB is the last byte to read. Little endian is when the memory address starts with the LSB in this case: 0x34AB12.

We read in our mind by default with big endian: For example: “1234”. The most significant number begins and all number with less power are written downwards. The same number in little endian would be: “4321”, very confusing.

Here comes the punch line: You can sort date formats also with endianness. Most countries in the world have a little endianess format. The annoying part is that you the default date format is American for many applications, that is in fact a middle endian format. Middle? Yes.

  • little endian date: day.month.year
  • big endian date: year.month.year
  • middle endian date:

The reason for the middle endian in date formats derive from the speaking language behind it. Back to fixing this. Within Thunderbird you can change this behavior by configuring some options OR you set a variable:

export LC_TIME

Start Thunderbird will now display dates in a better format ;-). Another note for this: When running fish:

set -x LC_TIME de_DE.utf8

This would be the same as above, just in a persistent matter.

best regards akendo

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