Timezone naming

J Wunsch j at uriah.heep.sax.de
Tue Nov 26 20:13:04 UTC 1996

As Peter Hullah wrote:

> This change resulted from an original mail of mine which asked why
> Unix used MET when the rest of the European, English-speaking world
> uses CET. Central European Time is the generally accepted
> English-language
> term for the time zone of France, Germany etc. I (as an

Well, but only very few English native-speakers actually live in MET.
So why don't you value the opinion of the people living here more than
the opinion of `foreigners'?

> English-speaking,
> - in fact, English. - European, informatician) applaud the use of CET
> and of CEST instead of CETDST. Any move back would reinstate a situation
> which is completely confusing to anyone who is used to the common name
> for this time zone.

My strongest point is still that you're simply not mighty enough to
change the world.  Your timezone package is great, but you by far
don't constitute a majority in Unix installations -- and it's Unix
what we are talking about here.  So see my first mail, while it's
arguable whether or not your are technically or politically or
linguistically more correct, you break the tradition people got used
to.  Breaking tradition is almost always a Very Bad Thing, in
particular if it's for nothing more than cosmetical reasons.  Your
naming might have been very acceptable 5 or 10 years ago, when the
Unix world in Middle (Central, if you prefer) Europe still evolved,
but right now, with a userbase of about a million or perhaps more:
sorry, you're too late.

Btw., the German does also have a word for `central', but doesn't call
the timezone ``Zentraleuropäische Zeit'' either.  Neither do the
Danes.  Perhaps that's why ``MET'' is more popular here.

(MET DST looks a bit strange at the first glance, but the term
`daylight savings time' is a so much better description than the term
`summer time' so people tend to accept this name well.)

Being faced with the opportunity to use a locally changed name in
FreeBSD, we rather decided to approach you to revert your opinion.  If
we changed our zone name in the shipped systems, you wouldn't gain
anything by it (except your personal pride, perhaps), but we'd have
more hassles in maintaining your contributed software in our

Finally: the opinions expressed here are not only my own.  Even
without a straw poll, i know that other people have also been
surprised by this change -- and that's not even with a _shipped_
system, but just only with the development version by now.

cheers, J"org

joerg_wunsch at uriah.heep.sax.de -- http://www.sax.de/~joerg/ -- NIC: JW11-RIPE
Never trust an operating system you don't have sources for. ;-)

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