Time-zone database

Stephen Colebourne has a great write-up about the closure of th. time-zone database.On October 6th, a lawsuit filed against the time-zone database by Astrolabe, Inc forced the closure of the FTP server and mailing list supporting the time-zone database. For those unaware of what the time-zone database is, Stephen provides a great summary: "The time-zone database (sometimes referred to as the Olson database) is the computing world's principle source of time-zone data. It is embedded in every Unix and Java for starters, and will be used by many websites and probably by your iPhone. You may know it via the IDs, such as "Europe/London" or "America/New_York"."

The particulars of the case deal with copyright infringement and all the drama that goes along with that claim. However, the real impact of the lawsuit is the closure of the one (1) global source of time-zone data.

Scary to think the one source of time-zone data can be shuttered by a copyright lawsuit, perhaps it's time for the data to be taken up by a standards body (ISO, perhaps) and protected. No real privacy issues here but there is a potential impact to anyone who processes time-zone sensitive data.

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