So, I'm on the TZ mailling list.

So, I'm on the TZ mailling list.
"The what?" I hear you ask?

It is the mailing list where people discuss and maintain the IANA TZ Database (sometimes called the Olsen TZ Database, after the creator). The TZ Database contains all the world's timezones, and how and when they have changed. 

And what they are called. 

This last bit always causes some contention, because ... well ... people. And politics. And stuff. Especially 'stuff'.

One of the most contentious over the years has been the topic of the Australian timezones. Why? Well, aside from constantly appearing and disappearing daylight savings in various areas, because there was no real agreement.

According to some government departments the correct names were (to use the East Coast as an example) EST/EST for Eastern Standard Time/Eastern Summer Time, others said EST/EDT (D for Daylight), still others AEST/AEST (with Australia as a prefix), and even others AEST/AEDT. And all of them said that this was the official state of things.

And so various proposed changes to the initial EST/EST setup were proposed, countered, re-proposed, refuted, analysed, and forgotten. Only for the whole cycle to start up again a year or so later.

Finally, someone from the BOM was looking at the mess, and asked the guys over in the Standards section of the BOM why they said EST/EST was the way to go. The answer? "Because that is what the Olsen Database says!"

Upon this being relayed to the list, the discussion started again, only this time when the patch was proposed, it was accepted without comment - except for the following:

"I'd like to roundly and whole-heartedly applauded the changes being made in this patch and I can't wait to see this in production. I'm going to be alerting as many developers and sys-admins etc. here at the Bureau as I can and I expect a massive sigh of relief." (There was a bit more in his message, but that's the important bit!)

Total patch life-cycle time from initial proposal to acceptance? Almost 25 years. 

So now the official names and abbreviations are "AEST/AEDT" (substitute W or C as appropriate for the E).

At last.


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