How to change the time seperator "." to ":"

How to change the time seperator “.” to “:”
Leap 15
Language: Hungarian

You can change date and time to a custom format using dconf (or dconf-editor), it seems to go something like this:

dconf write /com/canonical/indicator/datetime/time-format "'custom'"
dconf write /com/canonical/indicator/datetime/custom-time-format "'%F %R'"

%F is a placeholder for »yyyy-mm-dd«.
%R is a placeholder for »HH:MM« (with 24-hour display, no AM/PM).

Use the man page for »strftime« in a terminal window for more possibilities:

man strftime

I don’t know GNOME too well, maybe you need to log out and log in again in order for the changes to take effect.
(Sad to see that, like KDE, the Gnome developers also dumbed their customizability down, unless macOS and Windows who have had full date+time customizability for over 30 years.)

Correction. It was not KDE, it was QT that dumbed that down.

No problem whatsoever when switching:

karl@erlangen:~> locale
karl@erlangen:~> export LANG=hu_HU.utf8
karl@erlangen:~> locale
karl@erlangen:~> date
2019. jan. 22., kedd, 08:44:54 CET

I would argue both Qt and the KDE devs decided to almost solely use GNU’s locale system to determine formatting of date and time strings.
While I can see how Qt, as a framework and set of libraries, adopts GNU locales on Unixoid systems and wrap that within QLocale, I can’t fathom how those KDE folks think it was a good idea to abandon KDE’s hitherto excellent configurability. I still like and use KDE, but anybody can learn from discussions under and similar exchanges how people miss these things because they are a given on other operating systems and GUIs.

Just in order to have ISO-8601-formatted date- and timestamps I’m now forced to use “Sweden - English (en_SE)” as my KDE-wide date/time setting despite the fact that I don’t live in Sweden, nor can I understand a word of Swedish, nor are all programs compiled with support for en_SE (evidenced by the numerous Gtk-WARNING entries in my Xorg logs: »Locale not supported by C library. Using the fallback ‘C’ locale.«) .

Now, Qt5 does support ISO-8601, but KDE/Plasma doesn’t yet. The ball is back with KDE devs.

Rant over. :\

I fully support this. I am still running 13.1 for my day to day work bcause thi is a show stopper for me.

So there is still hope?

Meanwhile we don’t know where the OP wants to see the format changed…

And, I can’t find any reference to Linux/UNIX® time with a “.” in place of “:” as the separator between “HH”, “MM” and “SS” …

Are you certain that, the system you’re using, doesn’t have a system-wide shell initialisation script which reformats the “normal” «also in Hungary» Linux ‘HH:MM:SS’ time representation?

My KDE3 and TDE desktops all have the logical ISO 8601 date format and : as hour:minute:seconds time separator.

You can always create your own locale and KDE will use that:


It seems that, in Hungary, the “usual” time format is «hh óra mm perc» but, the numeric form may be either “” or “hh:mm” … <>.

Therefore, it seems that, GNOME defaults to the “” time format for systems setup with a Hungarian locale …

  • KDE, possibly, behaves in the same way if the ‘kde-l10n-hu’ package is installed – it doesn’t if that package isn’t installed …
  • BTW, up until 1995, this was also the time format here in Germany until, it was changed to “hh:mm” for ISO 8601 compatibility …

Which leaves the question, why does the Linux CLI “date” command, with a Hungarian UTF-8 locale, output “hh:mm:ss”?

It’s defined here:

erlangen:~ # grep t_fmt /usr/share/i18n/locales/hu_HU
d_t_fmt "%Y. %b. %-e., %A, %H:%M:%S %Z"
t_fmt   "%H:%M:%S"
t_fmt_ampm "%H:%M:%S"
tel_int_fmt    "+%c %a %l"
erlangen:~ # 

I was born in Germany in 1971, still living there; as far as I know, German time format always was HH:MM (hours from 0 to 23). Further, I have never seen any historic document (WW2 reports etc) using HH.MM.

Maybe you meant the addition to the DIN date format around that time (ISO 8601, i.e. YYYY-MM-DD, although all Germans I know still use the traditional DD.MM.YY, meh).

Correcting myself just real quick…

Having just no thumbed through old »Duden« orthography books, a modern typography and typesetting book as well as even older books printed before I was born, and having an image search for »bericht uhr« in the other browser tab, I discovered that Germans did use a full stop between hours and minutes, but always followed by the word »Uhr«, and mostly within a sentence (»Der Verdächtige betrat das Gebäude um 11.45 Uhr« etc.). There are also a few handouts by sports clubs and newspaper articles with full stops, on occasion even mixed usage within one page.

Also, the GDR (or »German Democratic Republic« or DDR, not to be confused with the RAM standard), while it existed, seemed to have used the HH.MM notation. Switzerland still uses the full stop in time stamps universally (source:

Thinking of how messy worldwide languages, potical systems, technological developments can be (keyboard layouts, units of measurement, calendars, time zones, first days of the week etc) — how could anybody except from us humans to come up with consistence in the formatting of dates and times? :\

(My sincere apologies for yet another unintended derailment of a thread.)

I don’t think it is a Linux issue. On the login screen it is fine. Then I login to gnome and I get dots in the top bar and nautilus as well.

I do not have this file.

linux-17qf:/home/bigb # nano /usr/share/i
iagno/       icedtea-web/ icons/       idl/         inkscape/    iso-codes/
ibus/        icewm/       icu/         info/        ipmitool/    ivy-xmls/

I suspect that, you’ll have to install the packages “libinvm-i18n1” and “invm-i18n”.

There may be hope on the horizon as soon as…

  • the Unicode CLDR (Common Locale Data Repository) properly includes RFC-3339/ISO-8601 (CLDR version 28 seems to have got ISO-8601 support back in 2015)
  • Qt5 (or Qt6, or 7) include that new CLDR
  • KDE and Plasma developers compile their stuff with that new Qt/CLDR support
  • GNU updates their Locale database accordingly
  • KDE, Plasma and other developers with international clientele compile with support for those new locales
  • major desktop environments like KDE-Plasma and Gnome support fine-grained localization customization

As things seem to be at the moments, there’s still a good amount of »passing the bucket« (KDE→Qt→GNU→Unicode etc) going on. It has been that way since 2014, I suspect.
Maybe KDE and Gnome devs wisen up and implement macOS-style or Windows-style customization via GUI again.

The file belongs to:

erlangen:~ # rpm -qf /usr/share/i18n/locales/hu_HU
erlangen:~ # 

When that was about as it was done in KDE3, I am a fan!