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Old 03-22-2011, 05:54 PM
Christian PERRIER
 
Default Needed input from Australian users and developers:; choosing timezones for Australia in D-I

Hello,

I need some help from Australian people.

Debian Installer includes (in tzsetup) a way to choose a timezone
among multiple timezones, when users have picked a country that has
more than one timezone.

I'm currently working on this as things change constantly in such
matters.

As preliminary, please notice that the point is not giving a full
choice within the gazillion of possible timezones. See
"dpkg-reconfigure tzdata".

The timezone choice in D-I is supposed to be user-friendly and easy to
understand for the average citizen of the said country.

When it comes at Australia, the choice was, up to now:

Lord Howe Island
Hobart
Melbourne
Sydney
Broken Hill
Brisbane
Lindeman
Adelaide
Darwin
Perth
Canberra
Eucla
Currie
Yancowinna

That's indeed insane..:-). Hobart (Tasmania), Melbourne (Victoria),
Sydney (NSW) and Canberra (ACT) have the *exact* same time rules
(including DST). Lindeman island is in Queensland and uses the same
time than it. Broken Hill is only specific because, even if it's in NSW,
it follows South Australia time..

Indeed, after some study, Australia (excluding outside territories that have
their own ISO code anyway) has only 7 different time "zones", as of
2011:

5 for the "continent"+Tasmania:
- Eastern Time with use of DST: Victoria, NSW, ACT, Tasmania
- Eastern Time withouty use of DST: Queensland
- Central Time with use of DST: South Australia
- Central Time without use of DST: Northern Territory
- Western Time without use of DST: Western Australia

2 more specific:
- Lord Howe Island
- Eyre Highway (also known as Eucla) using a funky UTC+8:45. That's
about 200 people, according to Wikipedia. This "timezone" is
unofficially called Central Western

I currently propose to offer the following choices in D-I:

Victoria, ACT, NSW, Tasmania (Eastern Time, DST)
Queensland (Eastern Time, no DST)
South Australia (Central Time, DST)
Northern Territory (Central Time, no DST)
Western Australia (Western Time)
Central Western Standard Time (Eucla)
Lord Howe Island

Do you guys think this would be understandable to the average
Australian?

Would something hurt some feelings (such as mentioning Victoria before
NSW)?

An alternative was:
Eastern Time with DST
Eastern Time without DST
Central Time with DST
Central Time without DST
Western Time
Central Western Standard Time
Lord Howe Island

PS: for those nitpicking folds among you, Cocos (Keeling), Christmas
and Norfolk Islands as well as the three Australian Antarctic
Territories are supposed to be covered by different choices when it
comes at "country".

--
 
Old 03-22-2011, 07:17 PM
Erik de Castro Lopo
 
Default Needed input from Australian users and developers:; choosing timezones for Australia in D-I

Christian PERRIER wrote:

> I currently propose to offer the following choices in D-I:
>
> Victoria, ACT, NSW, Tasmania (Eastern Time, DST)
> Queensland (Eastern Time, no DST)
> South Australia (Central Time, DST)
> Northern Territory (Central Time, no DST)
> Western Australia (Western Time)
> Central Western Standard Time (Eucla)
> Lord Howe Island
>
> Do you guys think this would be understandable to the average
> Australian?

Yes, that sounds fine.

> Would something hurt some feelings (such as mentioning Victoria before
> NSW)?

No, but I live in NSW :-).

> An alternative was:
> Eastern Time with DST
> Eastern Time without DST
> Central Time with DST
> Central Time without DST
> Western Time
> Central Western Standard Time
> Lord Howe Island

I prefer the former options to this one,

Cheers,
Erik
--
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Erik de Castro Lopo
http://www.mega-nerd.com/


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Old 03-22-2011, 10:34 PM
Alexander Zangerl
 
Default Needed input from Australian users and developers:; choosing timezones for Australia in D-I

On Tue, 22 Mar 2011 19:54:05 +0100, Christian PERRIER writes:
>I currently propose to offer the following choices in D-I:
>
> Victoria, ACT, NSW, Tasmania (Eastern Time, DST)
> Queensland (Eastern Time, no DST)
> South Australia (Central Time, DST)
> Northern Territory (Central Time, no DST)
> Western Australia (Western Time)
> Central Western Standard Time (Eucla)
> Lord Howe Island
>
>Do you guys think this would be understandable to the average
>Australian?

that'll work fine.

>An alternative was:
> Eastern Time with DST
> Eastern Time without DST
> Central Time with DST
> Central Time without DST
> Western Time
> Central Western Standard Time
> Lord Howe Island

not so great, because these are very uncommon. for example, you never
hear "eastern time" being used on the radio; here (qld/nsw border) they
say "it's hh:mm, that's hh+1:mm in nsw" when we're in that fun period
of the year where there are two time zones within the reception area.

regards
az


--
+ Alexander Zangerl + DSA 42BD645D + (RSA 5B586291)
Anyway the :// part is an 'emoticon' representing a man with a strip
of sticky tape across his mouth. -- R. Douglas
 
Old 03-22-2011, 11:32 PM
Paul Fraser
 
Default Needed input from Australian users and developers:; choosing timezones for Australia in D-I

On Wed, Mar 23, 2011 at 09:34, Alexander Zangerl <az@debian.org> wrote:


not so great, because these are very uncommon. for example, you never
hear "eastern time" being used on the radio; here (qld/nsw border) they

say "it's hh:mm, that's hh+1:mm in nsw" when we're in that fun period

of the year where there are two time zones within the reception area.

Actually, I regularly hear programs being advertised as starting at (for example) "1pm eastern time" or "1pm AEST" when they actually mean "1pm AEDST".
 
Old 03-23-2011, 12:28 AM
Ben Finney
 
Default Needed input from Australian users and developers:; choosing timezones for Australia in D-I

Christian PERRIER <bubulle@debian.org> writes:

> The timezone choice in D-I is supposed to be user-friendly and easy to
> understand for the average citizen of the said country.

FWIW: the existing Australian timezone choice in D-I seems fine from the
point of view of the Australians I've seen do installs (including
myself).

> When it comes at Australia, the choice was, up to now:
>
> Lord Howe Island
> Hobart
> Melbourne
> Sydney
> Broken Hill
> Brisbane
> Lindeman
> Adelaide
> Darwin
> Perth
> Canberra
> Eucla
> Currie
> Yancowinna
>
> That's indeed insane..:-). Hobart (Tasmania), Melbourne (Victoria),
> Sydney (NSW) and Canberra (ACT) have the *exact* same time rules
> (including DST).

But they didn't always; and with the tendency of governments to flex
their arbitrary timezone powers, they may be different again in future.

People's knowledge of timezone rules tends (IME) to stick at the point
where they learned about a particular change which they had to learn; it
rarely gets updated. Hobart people will probably not know that
Melbourne's timezone is the same now, for example.

> Indeed, after some study, Australia (excluding outside territories
> that have their own ISO code anyway) has only 7 different time
> "zones", as of 2011:

Which will likely change again in the future. We are cursed with
arbitrary government intervention in timezone rules, implemented with
little advance notice.

> I currently propose to offer the following choices in D-I:
>
> Victoria, ACT, NSW, Tasmania (Eastern Time, DST)
> Queensland (Eastern Time, no DST)
> South Australia (Central Time, DST)
> Northern Territory (Central Time, no DST)
> Western Australia (Western Time)
> Central Western Standard Time (Eucla)
> Lord Howe Island
>
> Do you guys think this would be understandable to the average
> Australian?

Yes. However, please ensure that no-one working on this gets the
impression this reduction in options is to be relied on; it's at the
whim of government that demonstrates frequent whimsy in adding as well
as reducing options.

> Would something hurt some feelings (such as mentioning Victoria before
> NSW)?

Inter-state rivalry is not something Australians get particularly upset
about; at least, not for something as inconsequential as which one gets
mentioned first in a list.

Maybe mention ACT first to defer to the nominal capital of the country.
Or not, as you choose; I doubt anyone will be upset.

> An alternative was:
> Eastern Time with DST
> Eastern Time without DST
> Central Time with DST
> Central Time without DST
> Western Time
> Central Western Standard Time
> Lord Howe Island

−1 for that. Average citizens can't be expected to know any name for
their time zone that isn't their name they for the region in which they
live (e.g. “Melbourne” or “Victoria”).

--
“I have never imputed to Nature a purpose or a goal, or |
` anything that could be understood as anthropomorphic.” —Albert |
_o__) Einstein, unsent letter, 1955 |
Ben Finney
 
Old 03-23-2011, 12:59 AM
Anbal Monsalve Salazar
 
Default Needed input from Australian users and developers:; choosing timezones for Australia in D-I

On Wed, Mar 23, 2011 at 12:28:18PM +1100, Ben Finney wrote:
>Christian PERRIER <bubulle@debian.org> writes:
>>[...]
>>That's indeed insane..:-). Hobart (Tasmania), Melbourne (Victoria),
>>Sydney (NSW) and Canberra (ACT) have the *exact* same time rules
>>(including DST).
>
>But they didn't always; and with the tendency of governments to flex
>their arbitrary timezone powers, they may be different again in future.

I fully agree with Ben.

>People's knowledge of timezone rules tends (IME) to stick at the point
>where they learned about a particular change which they had to learn; it
>rarely gets updated. Hobart people will probably not know that
>Melbourne's timezone is the same now, for example.

In 2006 we had to rush to update the zoneinfo data as the Victorian
government decided to have an extra week of Daylight Savings for the
Commonwealth Games. In Victoria we were on a different timezone to that
of the folks in New South Wales.

http://wiki.debian.org/TimeZoneChanges
http://lists.linux.org.au/pipermail/debian-au/2006-March/000289.html
 
Old 03-23-2011, 01:18 AM
Paul Wise
 
Default Needed input from Australian users and developers:; choosing timezones for Australia in D-I

I agree with the other Australians in the thread; the east-coast
timezones are currently all the same but might not be in the future so
we shouldn't rely on them being the same and we should allow selection
of Australia/Sydney vs Australia/Melbourne.

I would suggest doing what Ubuntu do for timezone & locale selection;
have a geographical map that you click on that picks you a timezone
and probable locale bits. It could even zoom in to a specific region
for selection of those weird timezones like Eyre Highway. Obviously
this would only work for g-i not the text-based installer. The
text-based installer could use the GNOME strategy of providing a
search box to input your city/country and a list of possibly
corresponding timezones/locales.

--
bye,
pabs

http://wiki.debian.org/PaulWise


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Old 03-23-2011, 01:44 AM
Ben Hutchings
 
Default Needed input from Australian users and developers:; choosing timezones for Australia in D-I

On Wed, Mar 23, 2011 at 10:18:04AM +0800, Paul Wise wrote:
> I agree with the other Australians in the thread; the east-coast
> timezones are currently all the same but might not be in the future so
> we shouldn't rely on them being the same and we should allow selection
> of Australia/Sydney vs Australia/Melbourne.
>
> I would suggest doing what Ubuntu do for timezone & locale selection;
> have a geographical map that you click on that picks you a timezone
> and probable locale bits. It could even zoom in to a specific region
> for selection of those weird timezones like Eyre Highway. Obviously
> this would only work for g-i not the text-based installer. The
> text-based installer could use the GNOME strategy of providing a
> search box to input your city/country and a list of possibly
> corresponding timezones/locales.

Then you have to maintain geographical coordinates for all those
regions. And then you can get this sort of problem:

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/oldnewthing/archive/2003/08/22/54679.aspx

This may not apply to selection of cities, but then if one can only
select a city then it's not much of an improvement over the current
list.

Ben.

--
Ben Hutchings
We get into the habit of living before acquiring the habit of thinking.
- Albert Camus


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Old 03-23-2011, 05:15 AM
Christian PERRIER
 
Default Needed input from Australian users and developers:; choosing timezones for Australia in D-I

Quoting Paul Wise (pabs@debian.org):
> I agree with the other Australians in the thread; the east-coast
> timezones are currently all the same but might not be in the future so
> we shouldn't rely on them being the same and we should allow selection
> of Australia/Sydney vs Australia/Melbourne.

Sure. That was an option I was considering, too.

I'm just not fond of "Australia/Sydney" presented as a choice, I'd
rather have "New South-Wales".

Given that the map idea is great...but just an idea which I certainly
am unable to implement, and that I have to deal with what we have
*now*, I hereby propose selecting states:

New South-Wales
Victoria
Australian Capital Territory
Queensland
Tasmania
South Australia
Northern Territory
Western Australia
Eyre Highway
Yancowinna county
Lord Howe Island

I will probably propose the same for some federal countries where
timzeone and DST rules are set by states/provinces: Brazil and
Argentina come to mind (Russia is too complicated for this to be a
sane option). So could Mexico.

USA and Canada are a fairly different case: the overall use of
Atlantic/Eastern/Central/Moutain/Pacific is quite well known among the
countries. We may just need to deal with specific exception (Navajo
nation not following DST, the Indiana nightmare, etc.)

I'll open separate thread for each country to avoid something too
messy.
 
Old 03-23-2011, 06:02 AM
Rick Thomas
 
Default Needed input from Australian users and developers:; choosing timezones for Australia in D-I

On Mar 23, 2011, at 2:15 AM, Christian PERRIER wrote:


I'm just not fond of "Australia/Sydney" presented as a choice, I'd
rather have "New South-Wales".



For what it's worth, the timezone database (as evidenced by, among
other things, the output of the "tzselect" command) is organized
mostly in terms of country/city rather than country/larger-
geographical-area.


Which is not to say that the larger geographical areas get completely
short-shrift in the timezone database. Look at the directory
structure under /usr/share/zoneinfo for example.


As I understand it, the choice of a large city in the affected
geographic area is practical in two ways:


1) Individual cities are fairly unlikely to be split into two or more
timezones. Larger geographical units are more likely to be split than
individual cities -- all depending on unpredictable future political
squabbles.


2) Most people know what their nearest large city is. They may not
know the fine distinctions of past and present political divisions as
applied to timezones as applied to their present location.



Just one point of view from somebody who occasionally lurks on the
"tz" mailing list.


Enjoy!

Rick


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