FW: Australian DST abbreviations causing business problems - still

Burns, Jamie BGI SYD Jamie.Burns at barclaysglobal.com
Thu Jan 15 22:54:42 UTC 2009

Leaving EST as it is when it can mean Standard or Summer time or
Australian Eastern or US Eastern is just propogating ambiguity. 

Instead of drifting along with an ambiguous consensus, why dont we show
some leadership and set an unambigous standard. If the timezone database
has global reach, a decision here is going to create a new "consensus".
Maybe the large number of Google EST hits is just a result of the
current timezone database. If so, all the consensus we're seeing could
just be people using what's given to them.

Another leadership option is to engage the government bodies listed
below and bring them onboard. With a bit of dialog we might be able to
agree on an unambiguous standard.

-----Original Message-----
From: Paul Eggert [mailto:eggert at CS.UCLA.EDU] 
Sent: Tuesday, 6 January 2009 9:31 AM
To: tz at lecserver.nci.nih.gov
Cc: Nigel Jones
Subject: Re: FW: Australian DST abbreviations causing business problems
- still

Nigel Jones <nigjones at redhat.com> writes:

> I think the main reason you see so many "EST" results in Google is 
> because it's a failed method for looking at this stuff, because it's 
> possible you'll catch AEST, and your likely to catch linux users that
refer to the output from 'date'
> in scripts/text/etc.

Certainly Google searches on this topic need to be viewed with a good
deal of salt.  That being said, here's another data point.  The Google
query "WST CST EST site:au" reports about 4,650 matches, almost all of
which are about Australian time zones.  The corresponding query "AWST
ACST AEST site:au" reports 675 matches, again, almost all about
Australian time zones.  This query indicates that, within Australia,
time zone abbreviations without the leading "A" are considerably more
popular than abbreviations with the leading "A".

In looking through the matches, one can easily find sources to support
all sorts of abbreviations, both from the government and from major
private organizations.  There really does not appear to be a consensus
within Australia over what the abbreviations should be.  Here are some

"Australia has three time zones. These are called Eastern Standard Time
(EST), Central Standard Time (CST) and Western Standard Time
(WST)--sometimes called Western Australian Time. These zones are
sometimes referred to as AEST, ACST and AWST respectively where the
prefix refers to Australia.
" -- Parliament of Australia, Dept. of Parliamentary Services

"Within Australia DST across the three time zones is generally denoted
    * EDT - Australian Eastern Daylight Time
    * CDT - Australian Central Daylight Time
    * WDT - Australian Western Daylight Time " -- Australian Government,
Bureau of Meteorology

"Australian Eastern Standard Time (EST)
 Australian Central Standard Time (CST)
 Australian Western Standard Time (WST)
 Australian Eastern Summer Time (EDT)
 Australian Central Summer Time (CDT)
" -- Australian Government, Geoscience Australia

"The outage will commence at 2:00 am Eastern Standard Summer Time (ESST)
until 3:00 am Eastern Standard Time (EST).
" -- Australian Customs Service

"NSW legislation does not specify abbreviations for standard or summer
time. EST denotes Eastern Standard Time. Summertime or daylight saving
time is commonly expressed as EDST (eastern daylight saving time).
" -- NSW Attorney General's Department

"All times in this schedule are in Australian Eastern Standard Time:
 add 1 hour to get Eastern Summer Time (EST).
" -- Australia Telescope National Facility, Parkes Observatory

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