[tz] Greetings from Mongolia

Matt Johnson mj1856 at hotmail.com
Sat Jul 4 18:05:42 UTC 2015

Oracle uses the IANA data.  It’s currently only Microsoft that doesn’t – at least not everywhere.


Microsoft has a long history of using their own time zones in the Windows operating system, which has affected other Microsoft technologies, such as the .NET Framework, Outlook, Exchange, Bing, and others.   This compatibility issue is the main reason they don’t use the tz database at the core level.


There is a team at Microsoft that maintains the data, and publishes hotfixes and cumulative updates to Windows Update and are listed at http://microsoft.com/time.  They do pay attention to external sources, but ultimately their decisions are based on confirmation from official government sources.  This is unlike the tzdb, which often takes action based on credible unofficial sources such as news websites.


Full disclosure: I work for Microsoft.  I don’t speak on behalf of the company, and I don’t work on that particular team, but yes – on occasion I do inform them of some of the learnings from this public discussion.  They usually already know.


With regard to Mongolia, Microsoft issued a hotfix in KB3049874  back in March:



That said, there are some parts of Microsoft that do use IANA time zones.  For example, applications that target the Windows Runtime (aka WinRT / Windows Store Applications) have the Windows.Globalization.Calendar and Windows.Globalization.DateTimeFormatting.DateTimeFormatter classes, both of which uses IANA time zones, not the traditional Microsoft time zones.


Hope that helps .



From: tz-bounces at iana.org [mailto:tz-bounces at iana.org] On Behalf Of Paul Ganssle
Sent: Friday, July 3, 2015 5:40 PM
To: Brian.Inglis at systematicsw.ab.ca
Cc: tz at iana.org List
Subject: Re: [tz] Greetings from Mongolia


Why don't MS and Oracle use the IANA tz file? Seems like a waste of effort. Surely they at least crib the IANA for hints on updates.

On Jul 3, 2015 8:32 PM, "Brian Inglis" <Brian.Inglis at systematicsw.ab.ca <mailto:Brian.Inglis at systematicsw.ab.ca> > wrote:

On 2015-07-03 08:45, Paul Eggert wrote:

amgalan tsogtgerel wrote:

the CRC has sent you official letter dated  15th June 2015 to you for your support on above mentioned issue and we  have  not received any response from you yet.


I twice replied via email to crc at mongol.net <mailto:crc at mongol.net> , the email address mentioned in that official letter.  Perhaps you're not getting those emails?  Anyway, at the risk of repeating myself:
Although the tz project and the IANA are doing their job, Apple and Google and etc. have messed up in Mongolia.  I suggest that you write about this to Apple and Google and etc.; possibly you'll have more influence on them than I do. Please feel free to quote this email, particularly paragraph (B) below.  I suggest also writing to the part of the Mongolian government responsible for daylight-saving time and mentioning paragraph (A).


Before talking about how to fix things, let me describe how the process worked and/or is not working:
1.  The Mongolian government decided on 2015-03-09 to use daylight saving time starting 2015-03-28 03:00 local time.
2.  Ganbold Tsagaankhuu (affiliation unknown) privately sent me email dated 2015-03-10 notifying me of the change.
3.  We published an experimental patch dated 2015-03-10 00:03:48 -0700 containing the change; you can see its archived announcement at <http://mm.icann.org/pipermail/tz/2015-March/022073.html>.
4.  We published an official release 2015b dated 2015-03-19 23:28:11 2015 -0700 containing the change; you can see its archived announcement at <http://mm.icann.org/pipermail/tz-announce/2015-March/000029.html>.
5.  Suppliers of operating systems eventually pick up these changes and release new operating system releases and/or patches to their existing systems.  Known operating systems include GNU/Linux distributions like Red Hat and Ubuntu, and many other systems including Android (Google), Firefox OS, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, Cygwin, DJGPP, MINIX, webOS (LG), AIX (IBM), BlackBerry 10, iOS (Apple), Microsoft Windows, OpenVMS (HP), Oracle Database, Oracle Solaris, and OS X (Apple).  (There are undoubtedly other operating systems that we don't know about.)  From the above examples, we know that Android and iOS have not been updated, whereas Red Hat and Solaris and Ubuntu have been.
6.  Users of these operating systems eventually install patches to bring their systems up to date.  For proprietary systems this often requires support contracts.
Steps (5) and (6) haven't been completed properly in Mongolia; that is, the Mongolian systems in question are like my older server at work (where step (6) hasn't been done), or are like Apple or Android cell phones (where step (5) hasn't been done).


Here are some ways to improve this process the next time the Mongolian government changes its time zone rules.
A.  The Mongolian government can announce the change well before it occurs. Eighteen days is not enough.  I suggest six months or more.  The last time the rules were changed in the US, the federal government gave nineteen months' notice.
B.  Operating system suppliers can be more timely about propagating the changes to their operating systems.  My desktop contains all the changes of tz release 2015d (dated April 24); why doesn't my cell phone?  Apple and Google should have the current tz version in their current cell phone releases and should send over-the-air patches in a timely way.
C.  Operating system users in Mongolia can be more diligent about installing patches.  Users regularly employing over-the-network updates (which is good practice anyway) should have no problems.
D.  The Internet Engineering Task Force has drafted the specifications for a time zone data distribution service that should automate steps (B) and (C) more rapidly.  See
<https://tools.ietf.org/html/draft-ietf-tzdist-service-09> (2015-06-29).  My impression is that Apple will implement this service, and perhaps other suppliers will do something similar.  However, it's just a draft and is not widely implemented so this is somewhat speculative.
PS.  This problem is not unique to Mongolia.  We have similar problems in Uruguay later this year (fix not yet officially released), in Egypt this year (fixed in tz release 2015d dated 2015-04-24 08:09:46 -0700), in Chile and Mexico this year (fixed in tz release 2015a dated 2015-01-29 22:35:20 -0800), etc.>

See https://support.microsoft.com/en-ca/gp/cp_dst for MS policy requiring 4-6 months notice prior to December annual or August/September interim tz updates.
Other MS changes may be released as retail updates or downloadable hotfixes depending probably on official support requests.
MS does not use IANA tz info so official letters should also be copied to MS; some DB and development product vendors also do not use IANA tz info, so e.g. Oracle should also be copied to update DBs and Java; add other product vendors and orgs which you find using outdated info.

Take care. Thanks, Brian Inglis

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