CTIME(3P) POSIX Programmer's Manual CTIME(3P)PROLOG
This manual page is part of the POSIX Programmer's Manual. The Linux
implementation of this interface may differ (consult the corresponding
Linux manual page for details of Linux behavior), or the interface may
not be implemented on Linux.
ctime, ctime_r — convert a time value to a date and time string
char *ctime(const time_t *clock);
char *ctime_r(const time_t *clock, char *buf);
For ctime(): The functionality described on this reference page is
aligned with the ISO C standard. Any conflict between the requirements
described here and the ISO C standard is unintentional. This volume of
POSIX.1‐2008 defers to the ISO C standard.
The ctime() function shall convert the time pointed to by clock, repre‐
senting time in seconds since the Epoch, to local time in the form of a
string. It shall be equivalent to:
The asctime(), ctime(), gmtime(), and localtime() functions shall
return values in one of two static objects: a broken-down time struc‐
ture and an array of char. Execution of any of the functions may over‐
write the information returned in either of these objects by any of the
The ctime() function need not be thread-safe.
The ctime_r() function shall convert the calendar time pointed to by
clock to local time in exactly the same form as ctime() and put the
string into the array pointed to by buf (which shall be at least 26
bytes in size) and return buf.
Unlike ctime(), the ctime_r() function is not required to set tzname.
If ctime_r() does not set tzname, it shall not set daylight and shall
not set timezone.
The ctime() function shall return the pointer returned by asctime()
with that broken-down time as an argument.
Upon successful completion, ctime_r() shall return a pointer to the
string pointed to by buf. When an error is encountered, a null pointer
shall be returned.
No errors are defined.
The following sections are informative.
These functions are included only for compatibility with older imple‐
mentations. They have undefined behavior if the resulting string would
be too long, so the use of these functions should be discouraged. On
implementations that do not detect output string length overflow, it is
possible to overflow the output buffers in such a way as to cause
applications to fail, or possible system security violations. Also,
these functions do not support localized date and time formats. To
avoid these problems, applications should use strftime() to generate
strings from broken-down times.
Values for the broken-down time structure can be obtained by calling
gmtime() or localtime().
The ctime_r() function is thread-safe and shall return values in a
user-supplied buffer instead of possibly using a static data area that
may be overwritten by each call.
Attempts to use ctime() or ctime_r() for times before the Epoch or for
times beyond the year 9999 produce undefined results. Refer to asc‐
The standard developers decided to mark the ctime() and ctime_r() func‐
tions obsolescent even though they are in the ISO C standard due to the
possibility of buffer overflow. The ISO C standard also provides the
strftime() function which can be used to avoid these problems.
These functions may be removed in a future version.
SEE ALSOasctime(), clock(), difftime(), gmtime(), localtime(), mktime(), strf‐
time(), strptime(), time(), utime()
The Base Definitions volume of POSIX.1‐2008, <time.h>
Portions of this text are reprinted and reproduced in electronic form
from IEEE Std 1003.1, 2013 Edition, Standard for Information Technology
-- Portable Operating System Interface (POSIX), The Open Group Base
Specifications Issue 7, Copyright (C) 2013 by the Institute of Electri‐
cal and Electronics Engineers, Inc and The Open Group. (This is
POSIX.1-2008 with the 2013 Technical Corrigendum 1 applied.) In the
event of any discrepancy between this version and the original IEEE and
The Open Group Standard, the original IEEE and The Open Group Standard
is the referee document. The original Standard can be obtained online
at http://www.unix.org/online.html .
Any typographical or formatting errors that appear in this page are
most likely to have been introduced during the conversion of the source
files to man page format. To report such errors, see https://www.ker‐
IEEE/The Open Group 2013 CTIME(3P)