ICANN takes control of the timezone database

by David G
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has assumed control of the timezone database otherwise known as the TZ database. This database keeps track of all the timezones of the world including various times that include leap seconds and daylight savings time. UNIX, Linux, and Mac OS  use this database to keep time in their operating system and make sure it is constantly correct in any location around the world. Before ICANN took over the TZ database was handled by volunteers and headed by David Olson who is an employee for the National Institutes of Health. These volunteers had maintained and kept the database running for over three decades, until a company named Astrolabe filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against two of the volunteers, one being Olsen. Astrolabe claims that some of the information used by the TZ database came from their software and therefore want royalties for their compensation. Because of the lawsuit, Olson immediately withdrew from maintaining the TZ database and gave total control to ICANN, who has promised to handle any legal matters that will arise from now on.

ICANN is now the new administrator to the TZ database. Astrolabe is suing Olson and another volunteer because they want to get money from them. ICANN is a bigger organization that has the power, money, and potential to fight off any lawsuits better than Olson and his volunteers would be able to. It is interesting that three of the top four operating systems depend on this database to keep time and sync it with their operating system. I never imagined just one time database for these operating systems. I always thought there was a number of them which kept in sync with each other.

Astrolabe obviously wants or needs some money and therefore decided to go after a group of volunteers that maintain “time”. This is ridiculous because I don’t know what type of compensation Astrolabe wants from them. All they did was make Olson and the rest of the volunteers give control to a big powerhouse that controls the Internet names of the world. They are like the Internet Gods because they give out the web names and protocols. I think Astrolabe just shot itself in the foot and won’t be getting anything now.

Citation

Jackson, Joab. “ICANN Takes Charge of Internet Time Zone Master List | PCWorld Business Center.” Reviews and News on Tech Products, Software and Downloads | PCWorld. 17 Oct. 2011. Web. 27 Nov. 2011. <http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/242028/icann_takes_charge_of_internet_time_zone_master_list.html>.

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