Revisiting Australian time zone abbreviations

O'Neil, Bonnie bonnie.oneil at
Thu Feb 24 14:32:19 UTC 2011

Confusion over Reference Data strikes again!!!

Bonnie K. O'Neil
Enterprise Data Architect
Travelport Global Technology Solutions
Office: 303-397-5239
Mobile: 303-725-1737

-----Original Message-----
From: Stuart Bishop [mailto:stuart at] 
Sent: Thursday, February 24, 2011 1:01 AM
To: tz at
Cc: Paul Eggert; Anand Kumria; tz at
Subject: Re: Revisiting Australian time zone abbreviations

On Sat, Feb 19, 2011 at 12:43 AM, Paul Eggert <eggert at> wrote:

> Anyway, this thread is starting to veer from the main topic.
> Perhaps some Australians could chime in?

Have in the past, but it never seems to help.

Australian abbreviations in the tz database are nuts, and are the
poster child for talking about timezone confusions. All the
Australians I've discussed it personally with think it nuts. I've
heard numerous anecdotes about the problems it causes, and people
think it will continue to cause problems until it is fixed. And fixed
is the word people use, but it never gets fixed due to concerns about
some antique VMS system wheezing away in a basement that will explode
killing many small puppies because it relies on the local timezone
abbreviation remaining static. Somehow this system is so fragile it
can't cope with the outside world evolving, yet receiving regular
updates to its timezone database. So Australians are stuck putting up
with this problem (and problem is the word people use), because
politicians are busy trying to run the country (or whatever they do)
rather than playing bureaucrats and blessing abbreviations to appease
a committee for reasons they don't understand, because they run
Windows and Windows doesn't use ambiguous timezone abbreviations.
Especially since nobody really seems sure *which* politicians should
bless them. State or National? Nobody in power cares enough to risk
their careers to cough up the funds to work out the constitutional
legalities of who can and how to perform such a blessing necessary
because a loosely organized international volunteer non-profit group
can't make their own decisions.

Sorry for ranting. I think this is the point I get directed to the 20
year old anecdote in the Australasia file, which also happens to be
the exact opposite of my recollection from growing up in Melbourne at
the time (We had daylight savings time in my neighborhood; must have
been all those immigrants and listening to 3XY rather than the ABC.)

And maybe this will be the last time someone requests an Australian
opinion rather than a civil one ;)

Stuart Bishop <stuart at>

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