[tz] Introduce Etc/UTC+x timezones?

Dave Cantor Dave at DaveCantor.us
Fri Apr 21 19:47:29 UTC 2023

Brian Inglis asked, "Anyone have access to earlier references to 
Unix time zones or TZ in sources?"

I found one; see second paragraph below.

Let me start by saying that I'm an old-timer, and was interested 
in timekeeping and time zones long before the internet.   During 
my time in the US Army (c. 1970), I recall we definitely used 
positive numbers for the number of hours west of Greenwich.  
(More often, though, we used letters, as 'R' for New York time.)

I found a map in a US Navy World Time Zone Chart published 1940 
which shows positive numbers west of Greenwich and negative 
numbers east.  See https://www.ebay.com/itm/254655643832 .
I'm sure there are hundreds of naval charts from and before that 
with the same convention.

When the internet was young and I first saw the use of negative 
numbers for western offsets, I was sure it was a mistake.  I 
still think so.

Dave C.

Date sent:      	Fri, 21 Apr 2023 12:10:39 -0600
To:             	tz at iana.org
Organization:   	Inglis
Subject:        	Re: [tz] Introduce Etc/UTC+x timezones?
From:           	Brian Inglis via tz <tz at iana.org>
Send reply to:  	Brian.Inglis at Shaw.ca

> On 2023-04-21 07:32, Benjamin Drung via tz wrote:
> > If people are aware of timezones, they often know UTC and their
> > offsets (e.g. Europe/Berlin is UTC+2 summer). But they are
> > probably not aware that the Etc/GMT offsets are inverted (e.g.
> > you have to select Etc/GMT-2 for UTC+2). I was not aware of that
> > and other people as well as the bugs in Ubuntu and Debian
> > indicate (see https://launchpad.net/bugs/1325949 and
> > https://bugs.debian.org/540305).
> > 
> > What do you think about the idea of introducing Etc/UTC+x
> > timezones that have the "correct" offset so that people can
> > select fixed offsets more easily? So Etc/GMT-2 would be renamed
> > to Etc/UTC+2 and Etc/GMT-2 would become a symlink to it (same
> > for all other Etc/GMT+x and Etc/GMT-x timezones).
> ISO 4031:1978 first defined the representation of local time
> differentials, commonly referred to as time zones, with -W/+E.
> It appears POSIX +W/-E derives from SVID issue 1, published 1985
> based on SVR2, possibly in (commercial) AT&T Unix 5 or earlier,
> supporting GMT and US time zones all positive.
> Anyone have access to earlier references to Unix time zones or TZ
> in sources?
> -- 
> Take care. Thanks, Brian Inglis              Calgary, Alberta,
> Canada
> La perfection est atteinte                   Perfection is
> achieved non pas lorsqu'il n'y a plus rien à ajouter  not when
> there is no more to add mais lorsqu'il n'y a plus rien à retirer 
>    but when there is no more to cut
>                                  -- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
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