There was some disturbing news yesterday—and I'm not talking about the death of Steve Jobs. The "Olson" time zone database was taken offline. While the immediate impact may not be felt, this is a very important open project and shutting it down is potentially going to cause a lot of problems.
For those that don't know, the time zone database has been maintained by a group of volunteers over the years and hosted at National Institutes for Health and contains historical, present day and known future information on day light savings changes around the world. This database is used by a huge of array of platforms to keep accurate time—Java, Unix, *nix, smart phones, etc. If you have an app that can tell you the current time in another location, there's a good bet it's based on this time zone database (either directly or via the underlying language's platform.)
Here are some good articles with more insight:
As many have already commented on, I'm not sure how this law suit can hold up since historical information can not be copyrighted. However, the law suit will have an impact—especially for applications in use by locations where the day light savings is in frequent flux.
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