Bug 3768 - en_GB should have am/pm representation
Summary: en_GB should have am/pm representation
Alias: None
Product: glibc
Classification: Unclassified
Component: localedata (show other bugs)
Version: 2.4
: P2 enhancement
Target Milestone: ---
Assignee: GNU C Library Locale Maintainers
URL: http://lists.debian.org/debian-glibc/...
: 9867 (view as bug list)
Depends on:
Reported: 2006-12-20 11:13 UTC by Jon Mitchell
Modified: 2016-05-08 14:00 UTC (History)
6 users (show)

See Also:
Last reconfirmed:
fweimer: security-

glibc-all-ampm.patch (GB locales) (465 bytes, patch)
2012-04-12 02:38 UTC, Homer
Details | Diff

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Description Jon Mitchell 2006-12-20 11:13:17 UTC
Use of the 24 hour clock is rare in the UK, yet there is no AM/PM representation
for en_GB. It is suggested:

t_fmt_ampm="%l:%M:%S %p"

Examples of this usage:

From Hansard, UK Parliament offical record:

From Education Materials taught in schools:
Comment 1 Ulrich Drepper 2007-05-15 07:45:53 UTC
I find it hard to believe that this is really a prevalent notation.  We ar
eusing the current one for 10+ years and nobody else complaint.  Yes schools
have to teach it (just like they teach the metric system in the US and still
nobody uses it).  And Parliament is always special with traditions.  The am/pm
format should not be defined if at any point somebody used it.  It's current
every-day use that counts.

Even if the format were in common use, the proposed format is obviously wrong. 
Both examples you cite are using a dot instead of a colon to separate the hours
and minutes.
Comment 2 Ulrich Drepper 2007-08-25 05:40:03 UTC
No reply in 3+ months.  Closing.
Comment 3 Jon Mitchell 2007-09-04 13:13:51 UTC
Argh. Yes, my bad to have taken my eye off of this.

It seems Debian and RedHat both patch this at the distribution level to add an
AM/PM representation. I guess this is why no-one else is asking for it:


They seem to have gone for

t_fmt_ampm="%l:%M:%S %P %Z"

which differs from what I suggested.

However your policy of "It's current every-day use that counts." I don't think I
can argue with. It would be nice to pick 12hour as an option, but agree that's
just a nice to have.
Comment 4 Petr Baudis 2009-03-29 12:17:41 UTC
*** Bug 9867 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
Comment 5 Stroller 2012-03-29 04:38:22 UTC
Jon Mitchell is totally correct in stating that the common time representation here is 12-hour.

I spoke to someone on IRC a while back who therefore advised me to reopen this bug. Sorry I've only just got around to doing so.

Although it is uncited, Wikipedia supports this: 
    "The 12-hour notation is still widely used in ordinary life, written
    communication and displays, and continues to be used in spoken
    language. The 24-hour notation is used in timetables and in some
    computer applications;"

We can find 12-hour usage on numerous British websites, government and otherwise:

   "The forum begins at 6.30pm and will finish no later than 8.30pm."
       - http://www.rother.gov.uk/article/6554/Question-Time-for-New-Look-Forum

    "This means as an adult worker, if you finish work at 8.00 pm on Monday
    you should not start work until 7.00 am on Tuesday."
       - http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Employment/Employees/WorkingHoursAndTimeOff/DG_10029451

in Acts of Parliament:

    "premises licences and club premises certificates granted by the
    authority, and temporary event notices given to the authority, shall
    not have effect to the extent that they authorise the sale of alcohol
    between 3am and 6am,"
      - Section 172A (2) (a) of http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2003/17/section/172A

And in major newspapers:

   Timestamps in this article - 5:22pm, 4:47pm, 4:38pm &c - http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/mar/28/supreme-court-health-care-live?newsfeed=true

    "He puts a first-time visor on the handicap debutant Parque Atlantico
    in the last at Kempton tonight at 8.40pm."
      - http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/blog/2012/mar/28/live-racing-wednesday-march-28-2012?newsfeed=true

    "Most stressful time of day is 5.55pm. Bath time - or 7.15pm - was the
    second most stressful point in a mum's day, with the kids' bedtime at
    8.45pm coming third."
      - http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/8588919/Most-stressful-time-of-day-is-5.55pm.html

More examples: http://www.google.com/search?q=time%20am%20OR%20pm%20site:uk

The UK is the same as the US (and New Zealand, bug 2473) in this regard - if the user is calling `date %r`, the user is explicitly requesting the date in 12-hour format (as per the manpage) and thus an AM or PM indicator is necessitated. If the US LOCALE has AM and PM, so should the British.
Comment 6 Stroller 2012-04-04 14:40:09 UTC
Additionally: it seems like some BSDs (i.e. Mac OS X) and downstream Linux distros that already patch for this use a lowercase am / pm in the British locale:

$ LC_TIME=en_US.UTF-8 date +%r
03:38:02 PM
$ LC_TIME=en_GB.UTF-8 date +%r
03:38:08 pm

Personally, I prefer this. It seems more "right" to me, although I don't have an authority on that.
Comment 7 Homer 2012-04-12 02:27:21 UTC
Not sure where Drepper got this weird notion that am/pm is not "current
every-day use" in the UK. AFAIK nobody except the military uses 24 hour notation at all over here. Certainly nobody I know personally ever uses it.

Moreover, this feature should not be withheld for biased, ideological reasons. This is purely a matter of individual preferences, and should not be an "official" policy that forbids users from seeing the time in their preferred format, especially when that format is the de facto format for their culture, as it is here in the UK.

I find the "reasoning" for withholding this feature offensive and nonsensical, not to mention factually bogus.

Now that Drepper has left the building, please let's just fix this and move on.

Downstream bug (Gentoo) attached.
Comment 8 Homer 2012-04-12 02:38:34 UTC
Created attachment 6338 [details]
glibc-all-ampm.patch (GB locales)

Patch originally submitted 6 years ago by Jakub Jelink @ Red Hat, and accepted and used by various distros, including Debian (attached).
Comment 9 Homer 2012-04-12 02:56:10 UTC
+1 vote for lower-case representation in GB locales, as per comment #6.

This is the proper, historically correct convention for abbreviating the original Latin terms "ante meridiem" and  "post meridiem" (strictly "a.m." and "p.m.", which follows the same convention as "e.g.", "n.b.", "p.s.", etc., but the more modern convention allows the omission of punctuation).

Additional citations:

"The 12-hour clock is the dominant system of time written and spoken in:

    English-speaking Canada
    Costa Rica
    El Salvador
    Hong Kong
    New Zealand
    Saudi Arabia
    United Kingdom
    United States

Comment 10 Homer 2012-04-12 03:05:31 UTC
Just to confirm that Jakub's patch works as expected.

% LC_TIME=en_US.UTF-8 date +%r  
04:02:14 AM
% LC_TIME=en_GB.UTF-8 date +%r    
4:02:21 am BST

% LC_TIME=en_US.UTF-8 date +%r
04:03:46 AM
% LC_TIME=en_GB.UTF-8 date +%r  

+1 submit
Comment 12 Petr Baudis 2012-04-13 16:58:17 UTC
Patch submitted to mailing list committed based on the mailing list discussion, thank you!