[TUHS] OT: American Culture

Warner Losh imp at bsdimp.com
Fri Jan 5 03:20:26 AEST 2018

On Thu, Jan 4, 2018 at 9:48 AM, Tony Finch <dot at dotat.at> wrote:

> Greg 'groggy' Lehey <grog at lemis.com> wrote:
> >
> > A thing that nobody has mentioned, and for which I can't find a
> > reference easily: didn't System V have time zone offsets the wrong way
> > round?  I have some recollection from about 1988.
> It's enshrined in POSIX but I believe it goes back earlier than that.
> http://pubs.opengroup.org/onlinepubs/9699919799/functions/tzset.html
> As I understand it, POSIX TZ offsets are the wrong way round because it
> was more convenient to omit the sign on the TZ offsets, and because Unix
> comes from America that meant no sign -> west, negative -> east.

There's also a time interval measurement convention from the high precision
time keeping world that has negative offsets 'forwards' and positive
offsets 'backwards' which this matches. It sure was confusing to me when I
first encountered it when the time scientists were telling me the
measurements were backwards...

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