Russia autumn 1996 DST patch

Paul Eggert eggert at
Wed Oct 2 07:18:36 UTC 1996

   From: Andrey A. Chernov <ache at>
   Date: Tue, 1 Oct 1996 10:25:25 +0400 (MSD)

   Please, note that all I say is about Moscow time zone only, I don't know
   situation for other Russian zones abbreviations.

Other Russian zones were a mess.  For example, the abbreviations for
Kuybyshev (UTC+4) were `KSK' and `KSD', which were incorrect.  I
originally used `KSK' and `KSD' for Kuybyshev because I mistakenly
thought that `SK' and `SD' were acronyms for standard and daylight
time -- I didn't know that the `SK' was the `SK' in `Moskva'.  This
needed fixing.

   I suspect backward capability isn't enough.

Under the latest proposed patch, people who prefer `MSK'/`MSD' can use
TZ="MSK"; won't this give them the behavior that they're used to?

   The main problems with your new names is that they comes too late:
   MSK/MSD already used here approx. 10 years!

We recently changed `MET'/`MET DST' to `CET'/`CEST'; even though the
former abbreviations had been in use for over 10 years by some
computer users, they didn't match real-world usage.

I looked hard for commonly-used English abbreviations or names for the
Russian time zones.  I couldn't find any phrases other than ``Moscow
time'', ``Novosibirsk time'', etc.  Given the problems we had been
starting to see with disputes about which language to use in other
locales, I've been trying to stick to a policy that the tz database is
in English and needs translations to other languages.

An advantage of using the first three letters of the English name for
the city is that the resulting abbreviations `MOST', `NOVT', etc. are
not likely to be mistaken for common abbreviations like `MST'.

By the way, I just took a census of Usenet articles on file at that had Moscow time in their `Date:' line, followed by
the time zone abbreviation in a comment.  Admittedly this is a small
sample, since most Usenet articles don't include the abbreviations,
and we subscribe only to technical news articles here.  That being
said, of 377,986 articles on file, of which 1,175 contained time zone
abbreviations in comments, I found only one article that used `MSD';
the other 23 articles from UTC+0400 with time zone abbreviations used
the obsolete abbreviation `WSU DST' (which clearly won't do).

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