[tz] Time zone confusion in Morocco

Paul Eggert eggert at cs.ucla.edu
Thu Nov 1 04:10:31 UTC 2018

Since 2012 Morocco has been switching from +01 (DST) to +00 (standard time) for 
Ramadan. In an article in today's Morocco World News, Safaa Kasraoui implies 
(but does not explicitly state) that Morocco will continue this practice even 
after its time zone switch last weekend from +00 to +01, and thus that Morocco 
will switch from +01 (standard time) to +00 (presumably DST) during Ramadan next 
year. If so, we'll have to change tzdb again, this would be another use of 
negative DST, and I'll bring back my Emacs-based predictions of Ramadan for Morocco.

Kasraoui also reports that MP Abdellatif Ouahbi has called on the Moroccan 
government to release the study that the government said it had conducted on 
time change. My guess is that no real study was conducted, that the government 
knew the change would be controversial, and that it announced the change with so 
little notice because it didn't want controversy to derail the change. The 
government's main argument for not using DST was the confusion and "tensions and 
diseases" of switchover, and its main argument for adopting +01 instead of +00 
appears to be to smooth out peaks in electricity consumption, though it appears 
that there is no data to support either argument.

As part of the time zone change, the government also changed school timetables 
so that schools will start at 09:00 instead of 08:00, effectively canceling the 
time zone change for schools. It said it will make further measures regarding 
DST, without giving details.

Kasraoui reports, "Clocks set by the internet with Moroccan cities selected as 
the time zone returned to GMT on Sunday and, as of Wednesday, are still showing 
the wrong time." Presumably this mostly refers to Android and iOS phones; 
although my US-baseed Android 9 phone is not updated, the Ubuntu desktop that 
I'm typing this message on is updated. Ubuntu is downstream from Debian which in 
turn is downstream from tzdb, and the timeline for my desktop update was as 
follows (all times UTC):

2018-10-27 05:22:45 2018g timestamped
2018-10-27 05:23:38 2018g committed to development version
2018-10-27 12:10:11 2018g available from iana.org
2018-10-27 13:14:23 2018g created for Debian sid
2018-10-27 15:55:08 2018g announced on tz-announce at iana.org
2018-10-28 02:00:00 rule change takes effect in Morocco
2018-10-28 21:51:08 2018g created for Ubuntu bionic
2018-10-30 05:23:27 2018g updated on my desktop

The update on my desktop was part of routine maintenance.

Although Ubuntu is about as good as it gets in this area for a consumer-facing 
OS, we should be able to even better. Debian beat the deadline but Ubuntu 
(downstream from Debian) did not, my desktop had the wrong Morocco time for over 
two days, and my guess is that almost all cell phones and computers in Morocco 
still have the wrong data for Morocco.


Kasraoui S. Benabdelkader: 68% of Moroccans Wanted an End to Time Changes. 
Morocco World News. 2018-10-31 13:44 +01. 

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