FW: Australian Timezone issues.

Chris Bitmead chris.bitmead at bigfoot.com
Tue May 11 01:37:55 UTC 1999

Alex LIVINGSTON wrote:
> 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.

How can I join the time zone mailing list?

> 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:

Are these just Australian problems? The reason I ask is that I am using
an SQL database that purports to work fine everywhere _except_
Australia, where the instructions are that you have to rebuild the
database from the source code with different Australian specific options
set which disobeys all the normal rules.

Also, I had a quick browse amoungst the tz files for other parts of the
world and they seemed to have unique ids for time zones.

> 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!)

UT offsets don't work because of summer time rules. I thought that was
the whole point of these abbreviated timezones "EST" is that this small
3 letter token encompassed a whole lot of rules and historical data in a
short abbrev.

Can I suggest that the goal of the timezone database is not to name the
zones according to govt regulations (which will inevitably conflict with
other govts. After all, timezones are by their very nature a
cross-jurisdiction concept), but rather to make computer software that

If timezone abbrevs are not unique, why have them? I mean if they are
not unique they are just utterly utterly useless..

Please CC any replies to me until I figure out how to get on the
timezone mailing list.

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