Oracle FAQ Your Portal to the Oracle Knowledge Grid

Home -> Community -> Mailing Lists -> Oracle-L -> Re: SV: Date Format: Mystery

Re: SV: Date Format: Mystery

From: Jonathan Gennick <>
Date: Fri, 30 Jan 2004 05:44:30 -0800
Message-ID: <>

Friday, January 30, 2004, 2:24:25 AM, Jesper Haure Norrevang ( wrote: JHN> Certainly som conversion is going on here. This might be the reason why JHN> there has been confusion about 7 or 8 bytes in a DATE datatype.

That's really interesting, that switch between 7 and 8 bytes. Oracle's docs, I believe in the OCI manual, do show a seven-byte format.  

JHN> To answer your question, it is possible to deal with fractions of seconds,
JHN> byt you need to use the TIMESTAMP datatype. The function SYSTIMESTAMP could
JHN> be useful. Be aware that Oracle supports 9 decimals, but not all hardware
JHN> platforms do.

Related to this, just because a platform returns, say, six digits, does not mean it increments on that last digit. Instead of:

    21.000001 seconds
    21.000002 seconds

The best your platform does might look like:

    21.000001 seconds
    21.000801 seconds
    21.001601 seconds

I just made these numbers up, but hopefully they give the idea.

I'm still curious about that seven versus eight byte thing with SYSDATE.

Best regards,

Jonathan Gennick --- Brighten the corner where you are * 906.387.1698 *

Join the Oracle-article list and receive one article on Oracle technologies per month by email. To join, visit, or send email to and include the word "subscribe" in either the subject or body.


Please see the official ORACLE-L FAQ:

Author: Jonathan Gennick

Fat City Network Services    -- 858-538-5051
San Diego, California        -- Mailing list and web hosting services
To REMOVE yourself from this mailing list, send an E-Mail message to: (note EXACT spelling of 'ListGuru') and in the message BODY, include a line containing: UNSUB ORACLE-L (or the name of mailing list you want to be removed from). You may also send the HELP command for other information (like subscribing). Received on Fri Jan 30 2004 - 07:44:30 CST

Original text of this message