why can't i turn off fast_time?

spellberg_robert emailrob at emailrob.com
Tue Feb 27 23:16:32 UTC 2007

greetings, all ---

as long as folks are paying attention to
   this whole time zone foolishness
   foisted on us by congress
   [ as if they don't have --real-- work to do; but, i digress ],
   it seems to be a good time to inquire about my pet peeve.

please note:
   this is the --one-- thing about freebsd
   that --really--, and i mean --really--, hacks me off.

i have yet to figure out
   how to turn off the warm_weather fast_time bug^h^h^hfeature.

i am outside chicago, so i am six hours earlier than london.

i choose to not observe fast_time any more than absolutely necessary.
twice a year,
   these nimrods in washington actually expect me to
   drop what i am doing and
   go around everywhere and
   change the clocks.
to put not too fine a point on it, i refuse.
[ quite by accident,
     i discovered that this eliminates what i call "solar_shock".
   now, when others grumble on monday
     about the sun not being where it was on friday,
     i laugh.

the first thing i did was to rtfm.
then, i selected a box on which to experiment.

the method that seems to work most successfully is
   to tell the box it's in arizona.
this would be great if i were in, say, laramie, but,
   i haven't moved there, yet.
so, it's a little irritating.

then, i thought i would be exceedingly clever
   by creating the missing file
   that would be logically found between arizona and indiana,
   using those files as templates.
surprise, surprise, they're in binary; just like --windoze--.
having read eric raymond's "art of unix programming",
   i agree completely that
   configuration files should be in human_readable form,
   not encoded in binary, mega_corp style.
i have put off playing with this approach.

last, i tried the environment variable trick,
   both for the local zone and for utc
   [ surely, i can make the box do everything in utc, i thought ].
i thought i had struck the mother_lode.
everything was working just as i wanted.
i smiled smugly to myself.

   i arose from my throne [ no, silly, the other one ],
   outstretched my arm and commanded "shutdown -h now".

alas, logged messages were timestamped off by one hour.
i was crestfallen.

this suggests that the mobo clock is on utc [ or something ],
   fbsd is kloodging this into local fast_time and, then,
   the environment variable is re_kloodging the kloodge
   to display what i want to see,
   but shutdown doesn't honor the re_kloodge.
or some such.

this is the point where i gave up.

i recount the above from memory.
the last time i tried to get this right was about a year ago.

windoze gets this right
   [ this is one of the few times when i prefer windoze;
       think about this
i cam select a time_zone, then uncheck the "observe fast_time" box.
no problem.
but, my 'nix boxen have their own agenda.

i solved this by setting them to what displays as utc and
   what produces the right epoch_offset,
   then i calculate the correct timestamps myself in my apps.
i simply accept that my timestamps are right and
   some of the system generated timestamps are wrong.
c'est la guerre.


i wouldn't bother writing except that congress decided to meddle,
   so some really_smart_people are paying attention.

all i want is
   to be able to set my boxes to utc, with no fast_time, and
   to have my apps and all of the other apps agree on what the clock says,
   at --all-- times.

it would be a plus if
   there were binary files for the 4 contiguous us time_zones
   [ 2 of these already exist ],
   --if-- that's the trick to getting what i want.
[ i suspect that
     it would be considered a plus by others elsewhere on the planet if
     such files existed for all 25 hourly zones and
     the several whose offset is not a multiple of 60 minutes.
   unlike mowing the lawn,
     this job well done would not have to be done again.

it would be a really big plus if
   non_textual config files were eliminated, but
   i suspect that this is a bigger project than
   most folks have time for right now.
[ if there is interest,
     since, at least, --i-- care about this,
     perhaps i could take this on,
     but i'm full_up for the next several months.
     it strikes me that this might make a useful project for
     some one or more of my students.
   any thoughts?


thanks for letting me inquire.

if anyone thinks this sufficiently worthy of
   either positive or negative response,
   please cc me as i am not subscribed to -questions.

rob spellberg
woodstock, illinois

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