Monday, 10 October 2011

Time zone database rebooted

Thanks to the efforts of Robert Elz and other community members, I can now report that the timezone database is effectively continuing without significant interruption.

The timezone database mailing list had been discussing how to handle the impeding retirement of Arthur David Olson for a while before last week. IANA had effectively been chosen as the new home, and one that would have slightly more structure than the original home. As a result of this preparation, it was possible for key members of the community, led by Robert Elz, to restart the mailing list in a new location. The first message from Robert Elz invited list members to continue the good work:

...the world's governments continue to adjust their view of their local timezones & summer time adjustments, so we need to continue updating the database (at least). There are several updates that will be needed soon.

For now, until someone else volunteers, I'm prepared to make the updates, in much the same way that Arthur did, and then make new releases available from munnari's ftp server. I suspect that it is unlikely that either Arthur or Paul will be able to assist much with this in the coming months, so I'm hoping that others will assist where possible.

Following this message, there has been a lot of activity. This included the setting up of some new FTP mirrors for the data, discussion of new time-zone changes (in exactly the same manner as before), some history digging to find old/misisng versions of code and data, discussion of PGP signing of the data, and some temporary git repositories (not ready to be cloned yet).

I think that all this energy once again demonstrates the value of open source communities and their resilience to difficulties when the code/data really matters to a wide cross-section of people. Thanks to everyone involved in provding that energy and spreading news of the attack.

However, none of us must forget Arthur David Olson and Paul Eggert, who still face the threat of a direct and personal lawsuit having given so much to the open community for zero cost and zero reward. I look forward to hearing better news for them personally.


  1. Thank you very much for providing the time zone database. We are happy that it is back to live, and so we do not need to develop an own time zone database solution. Thank you again! Bertram from Germany

  2. Do you happen to know if/how one could donate money to Arthur and Paul's legal defense? They've done such useful work for the community that the community really owes it to them to stand behind them in this case.

  3. @Ruxor, I haven't heard any info about beyond the news that one larger company is investingating the possibility of supporting Olson and Eggert -