alphabetic abbreviations for local time

Paul Eggert eggert at
Tue Jul 17 17:52:42 UTC 2001

> From: Nathanael Noblet <nathanael at>
> Date: Mon, 9 Jul 2001 13:37:12 -0600

> Is there anyway I can get a list of 3 letter abreviations so to get
> the JST and convert to an UTC offset?

This question comes up often enough that I'll add something like the
following text to the tz-link.htm file in my next proposed patch:

   Alphabetic time zone abbreviations should not be used as unique
   identifiers for UTC offsets as they are ambiguous in practice. For
   example, "EST" denotes 5 hours behind UTC in English-speaking North
   America, but it also denotes 10 or 11 hours ahead of UTC in
   Australia; and French-speaking North Americans prefer "HNE" to
   "EST". For compatibility with POSIX the tz database contains
   English abbreviations for all time stamps but in many cases these
   are merely inventions of the database maintainers.

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