[tz] [PROPOSED 2/2] Fix comments on Lebanon this week

Paul Eggert eggert at cs.ucla.edu
Wed Mar 29 05:55:11 UTC 2023

On 2023-03-28 02:18, Paige Tummons via tz wrote:

> We are strongly urging you to reflect this update in the 2023c file, to avoid the published tzdata file being in direct conflict with the government directive of the spring DST event in Lebanon happening on 30 March.

Unfortunately I did not see your email until after we released version 
2023c of the Time Zone Database (TZDB), by reverting to version 2023a's 
data. 2023c's idea was to do something simple, partly because any other 
approach would take time to develop and review and we're short of time 
given that 2023b is wrong for timestamps starting about 16 hours from now.

As I understand it, last weekend the American University of Beirut 
Medical Center's IT staff updated some computers to use the equivalent 
of TZDB 2023b (and therefore to not spring forward March 25/26), but on 
Sunday (due to an announcement by the Minister of Education and Higher 
Education that schools would spring forward March 25/26) they intended 
to spend some time this week to go back to 2023a (and therefore to 
implement the March 25/26 spring forward)[1], even though the prime 
minister had not yet changed his own mind yet. Now that the prime 
minister has changed his mind, perhaps AUBMC's IT staff are now supposed 
to do the equivalent of converting these computers back to 2023b, and 
then converting them again to 2023a (or upgrading to 2023c) promptly at 
24:00 Wednesday local time. If so, I can see why these conversions back 
and forth and back and forth are not greeted with enthusiasm (among 
other things it will make it hard to interpret these timestamps later).

In contrast, Saint Joseph University of Beirut continued with the old 
2023a rules and sprang forward March 25/26[2]. If they stuck with that 
decision, their job is already done - simply by doing nothing.

I got this information from Thomas Claburn's piece "Lebanon's IT folks 
face double trouble as leaders delayed Daylight Savings Time"[3], which 
noted similar issues in banking and other application areas.

As Debbie Goldsmith noted today[4], after the dust settles we will have 
more time to revisit this and reflect on how to add historical detail as 
needed to TZDB.

[1]: https://aub.edu.lb/emergency/Documents/daylight-savings.pdf
[3]: https://www.theregister.com/2023/03/28/lebanon_dst_delay_chaos/
[4]: https://mm.icann.org/pipermail/tz/2023-March/032853.html

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