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Users report problems relative to their timezone. Screenshots might be saved with timestamped filenames. "Things got really slow around 4pm" they'll say, and your job is to find what was happening on the server at 4pm.

I work on Linux, and my tooling hasn't evolved much since the 1970s. I don't know an easy way to convert log timestamps from UTC to something else, on the fly. If the log's timezone is that of the user, life is just easier.

title2023 Update

The lnav log file utility now reinterprets timestamps using the system timezone and TZ environment variable (as of ticket #703,). This means if you're on a UTC server but want to see timestamps in your native timezone, just export TZ=Australia/Sydney  or whatever before running lnav

The argument from Confluence developer laziness


To review, the timezone users see in Jira and Confluence comes from one of various levels:

1) User preference

Users can explicitly set their timezone in their profile:


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2) Default user preference

If your user preference isn't set, the default user preference will be in effect.


Jira conveniently lets you edit the default user timezone in General Configuration:

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Confluence does not let you edit the default timezone (

serverAtlassian JIRA
). Instead you have to resort to editing XML files inside jars.

3) Java user.timezone 

The default user timezone preference inherits its value from the Java user.timezone Java property
You can set this user.timezone Java flag in bin/, e.g. to -Duser.timezone=America/Los_Angeles .

4) OS timezone

Finally, Java sets its user.timezone property default to the operating system's timezone:

Code Block
$ cat /etc/timezone

So in Jira, everything is great. You can have atlassian-jira.log use a timezone that's good for debugging (UTC if that's your preference), while the default timezone used to render dates can be something appropriate for the majority of users.