Tuesday 17 June 2008

Firefox download day farce - never ignore time zones!

So, the big download Firefox world record attempt has started in a farce. Why? Because of a complete lack of understanding of and planning for date and time issues!

The 'download day' has been advertised as 17th June 2008. But there is no clear information as to when on the 17th June. So when would you assume?

Personally, I would naturally assume the 24 hours starting at midnight UTC. But no. The 24 hour period actually starts at 10am Pacific Daylight Time. Crazy!!!

The recriminations on this have already started. The main complaints include bad planning, American focus and plain stupidity. It already looks like quite a few people assume that the release has been delayed. Some appear to have given up on the download.

Again with dates and times the message is clear - time zones are a pain, but you can't ignore them!


  1. You're an idiot.

    Firstly, the record attempt *is* a farce from start to finish because there is no existing record, so one old lady in Latvia downloading ff3 wins them a record.
    Secondly, just because you think that they should release based on UTC doesn't mean they should do. I'd rather that their release engineers are not awake at 3am to cut a release. Even UTC isn't particularly useful for people in the very far east.
    Thirdly, why the hell are people getting so worked up about it not being released until later today? THE FINAL RC IS EXACTLY THE SAME AS THE FINAL RELEASE. THAT'S THE POINT OF RELEASE CANDIDATES.

    I really hate release days ;)

  2. "I'd rather that their release engineers are not awake at 3am to cut a release."

    In case news hasn't reached you, the point of computers is to *automate* things ...

  3. In an international announcement like this, UTC is the ONLY sensible default. If you mean something else you have to say so.

  4. Johnny Appleseed27 June 2008 at 07:25

    Haha, more anti-american rhetoric. Hmm lets see, there are more firefox users in the United States than anywhere in the world. There are daily internet users in the United States than anywhere in the world. And lastly THE COMPANY IS A US COMPANY BASED IN THE PACIFIC TIME ZONE.

    We probably just shouldn't include you idiots in our American focused activities. Or perhaps we should have not entered WWII.

  5. Stephen Colebourne27 June 2008 at 12:31

    Johnny, Chris, In case you missed the point, this is a blog more about missing time zones from announcements than about Firefox. In particular, describing a 24 hour download as '17th June' and then not starting at midnight is crazy. If you start at 10am, the 24 hour period necessarily ends on the following day. The message here is simple - just specify at what time and in what time zone, otherwise no one knows and confusion will reign!


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