[tz] Terminology mismatch in tzcode file format manpage / header

Guy Harris guy at alum.mit.edu
Fri May 18 02:21:20 UTC 2012

On May 17, 2012, at 6:52 PM, Steve Allen wrote:

> Except that the implementation of zoneinfo is based on the POSIX
> notion of UTC, and that is incongruent with the ITU-R notion of UTC.

So what's the POSIX notion of UTC?

In the 2010 version of the Single UNIX Specification (that being the latest version of POSIX, unless www.unix.org isn't showing me the latest version), chapter 3 "Definitions" of the Base Definitions section says

	3.150 Epoch

	The time zero hours, zero minutes, zero seconds, on January 1, 1970 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).

and section 4 "General Concepts" of the Base Definitions section says

	4.15 Seconds Since the Epoch

	A value that approximates the number of seconds that have elapsed since the Epoch. A Coordinated Universal Time name (specified in terms of seconds (tm_sec), minutes (tm_min), hours (tm_hour), days since January 1 of the year (tm_yday), and calendar year minus 1900 (tm_year)) is related to a time represented as seconds since the Epoch, according to the expression below.

	If the year is <1970 or the value is negative, the relationship is undefined. If the year is >=1970 and the value is non-negative, the value is related to a Coordinated Universal Time name according to the C-language expression, where tm_sec, tm_min, tm_hour, tm_yday, andtm_year are all integer types:

		tm_sec + tm_min*60 + tm_hour*3600 + tm_yday*86400 + (tm_year-70)*31536000 + ((tm_year-69)/4)*86400 - ((tm_year-1)/100)*86400 + ((tm_year+299)/400)*86400

	The relationship between the actual time of day and the current value for seconds since the Epoch is unspecified.

	How any changes to the value of seconds since the Epoch are made to align to a desired relationship with the current actual time is implementation-defined. As represented in seconds since the Epoch, each and every day shall be accounted for by exactly 86400 seconds.

	The last three terms of the expression add in a day for each year that follows a leap year starting with the first leap year since the Epoch. The first term adds a day every 4 years starting in 1973, the second subtracts a day back out every 100 years starting in 2001, and the third adds a day back in every 400 years starting in 2001. The divisions in the formula are integer divisions; that is, the remainder is discarded leaving only the integer quotient.

That doesn't handle certain UTC names (such as those where "tm_sec" is 60) in a fashion that always gives two different UTC names different seconds-since-the-Epoch values; is that what you're referring to?  (Hey, at least they say "approximates", rather than claiming that it's actually a count of seconds that have elapsed since the Epoch.)

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