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The Time Zone Database Package (tzdata) provides Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) with the time zone information needed for all applications or runtimes in the operating system to correctly print local time. The GNU C Library (glibc) makes use of the tzdata package so APIs such as strftime() work correctly, while applications such as /usr/bin/date use this information to print the local date.

The tzdata package contains the data files describing both current and historic transitions for various time zones around the world. This data represents changes required by local governments or by time zone boundary changes, as well as changes to UTC offsets and daylight saving time (DST).

This article briefly outlines some of the important tzdata changes that occurred in 2022.

A significant change that had been requested several times over the past few years was to rename the time zone Europe/Kiev to Europe/Kyiv. Recent coverage of the war in Ukraine showed that many media outlets were using the name Kyiv in referring to the Ukrainian capital, so the upstream project chose to rename the zone name accordingly.

Last year, the upstream project proposed merging time zones, resulting in a lengthy, often heated, discussion. The dispute involved the upstream project's decision to merge time zones whose timestamps and DST transitions were alike since 1970, now known as the alike-since-1970 changes. The tzdata project’s goals have always been focused on providing accurate data post-1970, and merging the zones simplifies maintenance. 

As a continuation of the merging of alike-since-1970 changes, three Ukraine time zones were reduced to one, Europe/Kyiv. Europe/Uzhgorod and Europe/Zaporozhye were moved to "backzone". Backward compatibility links are available.

Several other zones were also affected including:

  • Antarctica/Vostok
  • Asia/Brunei
  • Asia/Kuala_Lumpur
  • Atlantic/Reykjavik
  • Europe/Amsterdam
  • Europe/Copenhagen
  • Europe/Luxembourg
  • Europe/Monaco
  • Europe/Oslo
  • Europe/Stockholm
  • Indian/Christmas
  • Indian/Cocos
  • Indian/Kerguelen
  • Indian/Mahe
  • Indian/Reunion
  • Pacific/Chuuk
  • Pacific/Funafuti
  • Pacific/Majuro
  • Pacific/Pohnpei
  • Pacific/Wake
  • Pacific/Wallis

Affected links are:

  • Arctic/Longyearbyen
  • Atlantic/Jan_Mayen
  • Iceland
  • Pacific/Ponape
  • Pacific/Truk
  • Pacific/Yap

There were also some DST related changes in 2022. Palestine moved their March DST transition forward a day to March 27 and the transition back shifted to October 29. Chile delayed DST by a week in September. Iran will no longer observe DST after 2022. Syria and Jordan also canceled DST transitions and instead will remain at UTC+03 permanently.

For more details on changes in tzdata during 2022 see the updated NEWS files included in each release, and for the latest status on Red Hat tzdata updates follow the Red Hat Enterprise Linux Timezone Data (tzdata) - Development Status Page.


About the author

Patsy Griffin is a Senior Software Engineer at Red Hat.

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