Skip to content
Chef Cookbook for managing the timezone on a server
Branch: master
Clone or download
Fetching latest commit…
Cannot retrieve the latest commit at this time.
Type Name Latest commit message Commit time
Failed to load latest commit information.

This cookbook is deprectated and as of chef 14.6 is now apart of chef resources

Chef cookbook Code Climate Issue Count


The Timezone III cookbook contains recipes for installing the latest tzdata (a.k.a. IANA or Olson) timezone database and setting the timezone on your system. It is a fork of the timezone-ii cookbook by Lawrence Gilbert..


Amazon Linux should use chef-client 13. The default recipe picks the correct recipe to run based on node['platform_family']. In chef-client 13 ohai assigns amazon as it's own platform_family instead of rhel in previous chef-clients.

This cookbook is known to work with:

  • Amazon Linux
  • CentOS and RHEL
  • Debian
  • Fedora
  • Gentoo
  • PLD Linux
  • Ubuntu
  • Windows

It should work with any OS that uses the IANA/Olson timezone database and stores local timezone data in /etc/localtime (the only OS I know of that does not do this is MS Windows). However, some OSs not mentioned above have their own system utility for setting the timezone, and this may overwrite the changes made by this cookbook.


Attribute Default Comment
['timezone_iii']['timezone'] 'value_for_platform_family(debian: 'Etc/UTC', default: 'UTC')' String, timezone to set OS to; See timezone_iii::windows below for windows
['timezone_iii']['clock_utc'] nil String(true,false), UTC setting in /etc/sysconfig/clock (RHEL family only)
['timezone_iii']['tzdata_dir'] '/usr/share/zoneinfo' String, the path to the root of the tzdata files; the default value is for most known distributions of Linux
['timezone_iii']['localtime_path'] '/etc/localtime' String, the path to the file used by the kernel to read the local timezone's settings; the default works for Linux and other *ix variants
['timezone_iii']['use_symlink'] false Boolean, whether to use a symlink into the tzdata tree rather than make a copy of the appropriate timezone data file (amazon and linux_generic recipes only)


Set the ['timezone_iii']['timezone'] attribute to your desired timezone and include the "timezone_iii" recipe in your node's run list:

  "name": "my_node",
  "timezone_iii" {
    "timezone": "Africa/Timbuktu"
  "run_list": [


The default recipe will first install or upgrade the IANA/Olson timezone database package for your OS (timezone-data on Gentoo, tzdata on all other linux platforms). Then it will call one of the recipes below according to your node's platform.


This changes the timezone on Amazon Linux by:

  1. including the "timezone_iii::linux_generic" recipe then;
  2. including the "timezone_iii::rhel" recipe.

Refer to the sections for those recipes for details.


This changes the timezone on Debian-family platforms by:

  1. writing the value of ['timezone_iii']['timezone'] to /etc/timezone then;
  2. calling dpkg-reconfigure -f noninteractive tzdata;
  3. if dpkg-reconfigure amends the timezone value (e.g. by changing "UTC" to "Etc/UTC" or "EET" to "Europe/Helsinki"), it logs a warning.

Only the ['timezone_iii']['timezone'] attribute is used; all others are ignored.


This changes the time on all OSs without a more specific recipe. It assumes that the kernel gets data on the local timezone from /etc/localtime. (This is true for FreeBSD as well as Linux, so "linux_generic" is a bit of a misnomer.)

What this recipe does:

  1. verifies that the value of ['timezone_iii']['timezone'] corresponds with a timezone data file under the directory specified in timezone.tzdata_dir (default:/usr/share/zoneinfo), then;
  2. creates a copy of or symbolic link to that data file in the path specified in timezone.localtime_path (default: /etc/localtime).

The truthiness of timezone.use_symlink (default: false) determines whether a symlink or a copy is made.


This changes the timezone on PLD Linux. It writes the appropriate timezone configuration file, making use of the ['timezone_iii']['timezone'] and ['timezone_iii']['tzdata_dir'] attributes. Other attributes are ignored.


This changes the timezone on RedHat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and RHEL-family platforms such as CentOS. It is intended only for versions prior to 7.0, but should the recipe be called on a system with version 7.0 or newer, it will automatically include the "timezone_iii::rhel7" recipe and do nothing else.

This recipe updates the /etc/sysconfig/clock file with the value of the ['timezone_iii']['timezone'] attribute, then calls tzdata-update (if available) to change the timezone. All node attributes other than ['timezone_iii']['timezone'] are ignored.


This changes the timezone on EL 7 platforms by calling timedatectl set-timezone with the value of ['timezone_iii']['timezone'].

Only the ['timezone_iii']['timezone'] attribute is used; all others are ignored.


This changes the timezone on windows platforms by calling tzutil.exe with the value of ['timezone_iii']['timezone']. To get a list of timezones to use with windows you can run the command tzutil.exe /l | more on the command line and use the standard name under the offset info.

Only the ['timezone_iii']['timezone'] attribute is used; all others are ignored.


  1. Fork the repository on GitHub;
  2. Write your change;
  3. If at all possible, write tests for your change and ensure they all pass;
  4. Submit a pull request using GitHub.


Thanks to:

  • Larry Gilbert, for launching the timezone-ii cookbook
  • James Harton, for launching the timezone cookbook
  • Elan Ruusamäe, for PLD support
  • Mike Conigliaro, for bringing testing up to date
  • "fraD00r4", for RHEL/CentOS support

License and Authors

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License"); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.

You can’t perform that action at this time.