you’d think timezones would be sacrosanct

Somethings in life are supposed to be rock solid, unchanging & immutable. Not so for the list of available U.S.-based timezones as seen in Raspbian lately. In Buster, the latest operating system version (based on Debian), they decided to just arbitrarily remove a timezone selection for the United States.

Debian post

It all stems from the introduction of a second Pacific-based timezone called Pacific-New. This zone related to legislation that would have prevented daylight savings time changes to interrupt a presidential election. And yet, the bill never passed and this timezone made it into Debian (and Raspbian).

Like many users in the U.S., when presented with the two options (Pacific, Pacific-New) we selected the latter, possibly assuming that “Pacific” was some sort of designator for U.S.-islands-in-the-Pacific-which-weren’t-Hawaii.

So now with this Buster release, Pacific-New vanished into thin air and without any information to the community who support it.

But it doesn’t end there. The contents of files like /etc/timezone in Buster now don’t contain US/Pacific as one might expect. They now contain America/Los_Angeles instead. Seriously? Just think of all the shell scripts that are now buggy as a result of changes like this.

The folks from Raspbian suggest that all US/timezone​ timezones are now deprecated in lieu of America/City_Name. The entire point to having the former is that it allows pulldown menus in software to indicate a short list to the enduser. There are literally hundreds of city name entries within the America listing since it includes North, Central and South America of course.

This is a real face-palm moment for software developers and for endusers as well. Instead of selecting from perhaps five timezones, you’ll now need to select from hundreds of representative cities within two continents.

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