In a post to the tz mailing list, founding contributor Arthur David Olsen said that a civil suit was filed in the US Federal court in Boston on 30 September and that the authoritative FTP server hosted by the US National Institute of Health and the mailing list itself would be shut down.
Astrolabe claims in the filing that the tz database, and specifically Olsen and tz editor Paul Eggert, have infringed upon copyright found in the ACS Atlas in relation to historical time-zone data.
The tz database is utilised throughout the software world in Linux distributions, BSD systems including OS X, GNU C libraries, databases such as Oracle and PostgreSQL, PHP, Java, Python and Perl.
That the database has been shut down is no small thing, as it leaves the Unix, Linux and BSD communities without a central authoritative server for time zone updates, for example when states move into daylight savings a week early or late — something that occurs quite frequently worldwide.
Use of the database is fairly ubiquitous. As a programmer, if you have ever used a time zone of the form "Australia/Sydney" then you are likely using tz data.
So basically this lawsuit is rather annoying. But there is one simple way to solve the problem. In the words of Rasmus Lerdorf, the creator of PHP, speaking on Twitter this morning: "A few people have asked me about the time zone db going away. Let's just abolish time zones. Problem solved."
Some would say that it is a long way from software engineering to journalism, others would correctly argue that it is a mere 10 metres according to the floor plan.During his first five years with CBS Interactive, Chris started his journalistic adventure in 2006 as the Editor of Builder AU after originally joining the company as a programmer.Leaving CBS Interactive in 2010 to follow his deep desire to study the snowdrifts and culinary delights of Canada, Chris based himself in Vancouver and paid for his new snowboarding and poutine cravings as a programmer for a lifestyle gaming startup.Chris returns to CBS in 2011 as the Editor of TechRepublic Australia determined to meld together his programming and journalistic tendencies once and for all.In his free time, Chris is often seen yelling at different operating systems for their own unique failures, avoiding the dreaded tech support calls from relatives, and conducting extensive studies of internets — he claims he once read an entire one.