FW: Pacific-New

Steve Ward planet36 at gmail.com
Tue Feb 24 14:18:05 UTC 2009

On Sun, Feb 22, 2009 at 18:43, Olson, Arthur David (NIH/NCI) [E] <
olsona at dc37a.nci.nih.gov> wrote:

> I'm forwarding this message from Bill Unruh, who is not on the time zone
> mailing list.
> Those of you who are on the list, please direct replies appropriately.
>                                        --ado
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Bill Unruh [mailto:unruh at physics.ubc.ca]
> Sent: Sunday, February 22, 2009 6:35
> To: Olson, Arthur David (NIH/NCI) [E]
> Cc: tz at lecserver.nci.nih.gov
> Subject: RE: Pacific-New
> On Sun, 22 Feb 2009, Olson, Arthur David (NIH/NCI) [E] wrote:
> > The "pacificnew" file includes information about legislation that was
> > introduced (but not passed) in the United States Congress; it serves
> to
> > explain why a "Pacific-New" time zone was created in the first place.
> > Note that the last line of the file is a "Link America/Los_Angeles
> > US/Pacific-New" line, meaning that using either name now has the same
> > effect.
> I guess I object strongly to including legislative proposals into the
> tzdata
> files. If we introduce a new file and a new timezone everytime some
> government
> official makes some silly comment about time, the whole edifice will
> collapse
> under the weight of that garbage. While the tzdata file is not an
> official
> publication it is regarded as pretty authoritiative by most people using
> computers in the world. It should therefore strive to be accurate and
> authoritative, and not get bogged down with irrelevancies, and political
> commentary or jokes (which is the only thing I can imagine that the
> Pacific-New timezone  to be).
> >
> > As to jokes and idiocy: there used to be an obscure bit of word play
> in
> > an strftime.c comment;
> > it was eliminated in version 7.40.-)
> Never saw it. I am not above jokes and wordplay but not when it extends
> to
> introducing new time zones in at least semi-authoritative publications.
> Are we going to get an Okeefenokie time zone because someone likes
> Pogo-- or a
> US/BUSH timezone (constantly set to midnight) as political commentary on
> the
> last president? That an ill-considered proposal popped up in Congress 20
> years
> ago  but was never passed should not be memorialised by a new time zone
> in tzdata.
> My response was triggered when a Suse user said his distro assigned
> Pacific-New to him. Having never seen it before (Mandriva wisely does
> not have it),
> I looked at the tzdata file and found it. Please please remove it.
> >
> >        --ado
> >
> --
> William G. Unruh   |  Canadian Institute for|     Tel: +1(604)822-3273
> Physics&Astronomy  |     Advanced Research  |     Fax: +1(604)822-5324
> UBC, Vancouver,BC  |   Program in Cosmology |     unruh at physics.ubc.ca
> Canada V6T 1Z1     |      and Gravity       |
> www.theory.physics.ubc.ca/

I thought this was pertinent:


Paul Eggert <eggert at twinsun.com>
Mon, 26 Oct 92 14:47:57 PST

Several people on the west coast of the US reported that their Unix systems
failed to switch from daylight savings time to standard time yesterday, 25
October 1992.  The reason?  When they originally configured their systems,
they were asked to choose one of the following time zone rules:

    US/Alaska   US/Central  US/Hawaii   US/Pacific
    US/Aleutian US/East-Indiana US/Michigan US/Pacific-New
    US/Arizona  US/Eastern  US/Mountain US/Samoa

Some people chose 'US/Pacific-New' instead of 'US/Pacific'.  After all, who
wants the old version when you can have the new version?

Unfortunately, 'US/Pacific-New' stands for "Pacific Presidential Election
Time", which was passed by the House in April 1989 but never signed into
law.  In presidential election years, this rule would have delayed the
PDT-to-PST switchover until after the election, to lessen the effect of
broadcast news election projections on last-minute west-coast voters.  Thus,
US/Pacific-New and US/Pacific have always been identical -- until yesterday.

This problem comes from combining Arthur David Olson's deservedly popular
time zone software (which you can FTP from elsie.nci.nih.gov in
pub/tz92b.tar.Z) with some overly terse vendor-supplied installation
procedures.  No doubt Olson did not use a more informative name like
'US/Pacific-Presidential-Election' because of the 14-character file name
length limit in many Unix file systems.  In view of yesterday's experience,
though, it seems unwise to make the hypothetical choice available under any
name, since it gives free rein to Murphy's Law.

Steve Ward
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://mm.icann.org/pipermail/tz/attachments/20090224/c5ad82ed/attachment-0001.html 

More information about the tz mailing list