FW: Australian Timezone issues.

Alex LIVINGSTON alex at agsm.edu.au
Tue May 11 01:06:20 UTC 1999

At 02:38 +1000 1999-05-11, Olson, Arthur David (NCI) wrote:
>Note that Chris is not on the time zone mailing list; be sure that any replies
>are directed to Chris.
>				--ado
>-----Original Message-----
>From:	Chris Bitmead [SMTP:chris.bitmead at bigfoot.com]
>Sent:	Sunday, May 09, 1999 11:12 AM
>To:	tz at elsie.nci.nih.gov
>Subject:	Australian Timezone issues.
>I understand this is the appropriate email address for addressing issues
>with the standard UNIX timezone files.
>Has any thought been given to having the Australian EST timezone renamed
>to AEST? The conflicting name with the American EST has caused too much
>grief for too long.
>AEST is the proper abbreviation anyway in an international
>context and is reported on international radio broadcasts that refer to
>Australian timezones. The current practice of using plain EST simply
>breaks everything.
>For example, when a database dumps a time 'Sun May  9 11:07:06
>EST 1999 in Australia, and then the database reads the time back in, it
>assumes that EST is New York time and everything gets screwed up.
>Another example, typing date in Australia's EST zone gives
>Sun May  9 11:07:06 EST 1999
>But typing TZ=EST date
>Sat May  8 20:07:06 EST 1999
>Inconsistent or what?
>As far as I know it is only Australian zones which suffer from
>this stupidity. It basicly renders timezones partly useless in
>Australia, because the timezone abbreviation of EST is ambiguous, and
>whenever interpreted, it's always done wrongly as NY time.
>This means that a lot of UNIX software simply doesn't work properly in
>Australia. Frankly I count the standard UNIX date program amoungst the
>many because the time it reports as EST is different to the date it
>reports when TZ=EST.
>What would have to be done to get this changed in the zoneinfo files?
>Chris Bitmead
>mailto:chris.bitmead at bigfoot.com

This is only part of the problem. "EST" ("Eastern Standard Time") is used
whether daylight saving is in effect or not, and since not all the
applicable region observes daylight saving, EST can mean two different
things *at the same time*. In New South Wales, at least, it is even
enshrined in law that references to "standard time" be construed
differently depending on whether summer time is on force or not! See:


On the other hand, I thought the tz database did not attempt to specify
unique time-zone abbreviations. (If only all time references would be
qualified simply by a UT offset!)

Macintosh and Lotus Notes Support / Information Technology (IT)
Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM)
The University of New South Wales (UNSW) / [Sydney]  NSW  2052 / AUSTRALIA

E-mail   : alex at agsm.edu.au; cit at agsm.edu.au (IT)
Facsimile: +61 2 9931-9349 / Telephone: +61 2 9931-9264
Time     : UTC+11---[last Mar. Sun.---UTC+10---[last Oct. Sun.---UTC+11---

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