Timezone Peculiarities

I just had a minor freakout trying to figure out how a number of servers I maintain running London time suddenly started reporting time Eastern +6 hrs (instead of +5 as it usually is). Had the daily sync with the NTP server gone wrong? Were my clocks wrong? Am I going crazy?

Then, of course, I bothered to look at the timezone code, noticed it had switched from GMT to BST, and realized clocks in England today switch to BST (British Summer Time).

I always wondered why daylight savings times have to switch on completely different dates/times all over the world. For example, this year BST starts at March 26 01:00 GMT, whereas most of America will switch to Daylight time on April 2 at 02:00 LST (local standard time).

The answer appears to be that convention is dictated by governments, and before the Uniform Time Act of 1966 in the US, this even went down to the state level. Indiana, a state split into two different timezones, used to have some counties in both timezones practicing DST and others not (this is finally being resolved this year when the entire state starts following DST).

It’s a real mess trying to keep track of all this. Can’t we just get some international body to decide all this stuff?



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