The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) today took over operation of an Internet Time Zone Database that is used by a number of major computer systems.
ICANN agreed to manage the database after receiving a request from the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).
The database contains time zone code and data that computer programs and operating systems such as Unix, Linux, Java, and Oracle rely on to determine the correct time for a given location. Modifications to the database occur frequently throughout the year.
“The time zone database is used by a large number of commercial operating systems and the software applications,” said Russ Housely, chairman of the IETF. “Incorrect time zone information will impact many everyday activities, including meeting and conference call coordination, airplane and train schedules, physical package delivery notices, and astronomical observatories.”
For nearly three decades, the had been maintained by a group of dedicated volunteers, in particular, Arthur David Olson at the US National Institutes of Health. Olson coordinated the group, managed the data, and created a platform for their release.
Olson’s announced retirement prompted the IETF to turn to ICANN to ensure continued operation of the database.
“The Time Zone Database provides an essential service on the Internet and keeping it operational falls within ICANN’s mission of maintaining a stable and dependable Internet,” said Akram Atallah, ICANN’s chief operating officer in a media release.