Russia autumn 1996 DST patch

Андрей Чернов (Andrey A. Chernov) ache at
Wed Oct 2 10:23:10 UTC 1996

>    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?

Yes, but since it isn't default variant, it always needs special sysadmin
attention to maintain. Moreover, some people never heard of timezone and
would use default variant assuming it is right (and it isn't) causing
troubles for themselfs and others such as rewritting all Date: parsing
software which already knows about MSK/MSD and knows nothing about new

If you count all money which will be spent to adapt to new situation,
it will be too high price for aesthetical purity.

>    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.

Why you not try to change GMT to something else?
Assume that this idea becomes reality and you understand my
complaints. MSK/MSD sounds here like GMT for you.

> 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.

Russian time zones never abbreviated in civil live, so don't
even try to search for them.
MSK/MSD abbreviation was born in computers world initially.

I don't understand why you insist on some meaning of timezone
abbreviation, lets look at them as at abstract ascii labels.
Most of timezone abbreviations already are cryptic enough
for unexperienced user. Only one requirement will be needed:
ascii label must be unique. If timezone abbreviation comes
to you from native background, please don't change it.

> 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'.

This idea not save you for cities with equal 3-letters prefixes case.
IMHO the better way is using model with higher abstraction level.

> By the way, I just took a census of Usenet articles on file at
> that had Moscow time in their `Date:' line, followed by

Usenet RFC 1036 _not_ allows usage of timezone abbreviations except few
standard North American timezones, proper News Agents always use
GMT+0400 instead of MSD.

Andrey A. Chernov
<ache at>

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