Time Zones in ZCS

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This page describes the relationship between the Zimbra Collaboration Suite and time zones. Different parts of ZCS read time zone information from different places, and this page explains it all.

There are three places where time zone information can be examined: - the COS and account object in LDAP - the user's PC (or mobile device) - the server

Different clients examine different settings.

Time zone sources

COS and Account

The COS and Account objects be can examined (e.g. for an account) by zmprov: prompt> zmprov ga foo@company.com | grep -i timezone zimbraPrefTimeZoneId: (GMT-06.00) Central Time (US & Canada)

So you can see there is a preference called zimbraPrefTimeZoneId that stores the string description of the time zone.

The server is particular about how this time zone is identified, and right now there is no list of all the allowed time zones. (Yes, we need to fix this!)

Note that in past versions of ZCS users may have been provisioned with the US-Pacific time zone if no other time zone was explicitly specified. If this has occurred you can broadly change all time zones (for any not set in particular) by changing zimbraPrefTimeZoneId on the user's COS.

The user's PC

This is determined by the user as appropriate for their OS.

The server

This is determined by the administrator as appropriate for their OS.


Client Behavior

There are several clients in use with Zimbra and they have different behaviors.

Mobile

In general the mobile devices will use their own time zone. However in the case of the Treo the server has to use the account time zone in order to work around device bugs. Note also that time zone handling on devices is frequently broken or poorly implemented.

Mobile device time zone settings impact the device only and do not alter data on the server.

The basic (or lite) client

The basic client uses the account time zone for rendering times in message list displays. When it includes calendar functions the calendar will also be drawn based on the account time zone.

Note that the basic client ignores the time zone on the PC. The basic client does expose the time zone to be used; this impacts the account's zimbraPrefTimeZoneId.

The advanced (or AJAX) client

The advanced client uses the time zone of the user's PC for rendering times in messages list displays as well as calendar functions.

Note that the advanced client ignores the time zone set on the account. As of ZCS 4.5.6 the account time zone is not exposed for editing in the advanced client.

zmprov

The admin CLI zmprov provides access to the COS and account attributes and will also read them.
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