Getting date from Real time clock (RTC) without using the date command or any other Linux time related commands.

In Linux, the “Real Time Clock” tracks wall clock time and is battery backed so that it works even with system power off. The RTC has no concept of time zone or daylight saving, it defaults to UTC. One of the user interfaces that the Linux Kernel exposes is

 /sys/class/rtc/rtc{N} 

and we will use the files in that directory to directly read time related data from the RTC.

* Files –

[root@ns3 rtc0]# ls /sys/class/rtc/rtc0
date  dev  device  hctosys  max_user_freq  name  power  since_epoch  subsystem  time  uevent  wakealarm

* Date and time in UTC

[root@ns3 rtc0]# cat date
2015-01-19
[root@ns3 rtc0]# cat time
23:05:05

* The maximum interrupt rate an unprivileged user may request from this RTC.

# cat max_user_freq
64

* The name of the RTC corresponding to this sysfs directory

[root@ns3 rtc0]# cat name
rtc_cmos

* The number of seconds since the epoch according to the RTC

[root@ns3 rtc0]# cat since_epoch
1421708627

* Status information is reported through the pseudo-file /proc/driver/rtc

[root@ns3 rtc0]# cat /proc/driver/rtc
rtc_time        : 23:06:58
rtc_date        : 2015-01-19
alrm_time       : 01:00:02
alrm_date       : ****-**-**
alarm_IRQ       : no
alrm_pending    : no
24hr            : yes
periodic_IRQ    : no
update_IRQ      : no
HPET_emulated   : no
DST_enable      : no
periodic_freq   : 1024
batt_status     : okay

References –

Real Time Clock (RTC) Drivers for Linux

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