A popular question over the last few days...

"What is going on in Iraq next week on daylight saving time?"

As I noted earlier, it looks like Iraq will not observe daylight saving time this year.  The change is currently scheduled to take effect on April 1, 2008. To this point, we haven't has not been able to officially verify this change, but we've spun up resources over the last few weeks to provide guidance, updates and documentation for customers and partners, initially here on the DST & TZ blog and now on a permanent page, Iraq Daylight Saving Time changes, off of the Microsoft DST & TZ site.

What should you do?

In most cases, for consumers and small businesses, probably nothing.

Unless you live in the affected region and actively use Iraq’s Baghdad (Arabic) time zone on your Windows desktop and server operating systems, you probably won't see or feel any impact. 

If you do use the Baghdad time zone, we recommend that you read the recommended steps on the Iraq Daylight Saving Time changes page.  And please don't manually adjust the machine’s clock if you do use the Baghdad time zone.  This will cause adverse effects on your environment and it is not supported by Microsoft.  (To read more about why this is a bad idea, see "For DST, do I just adjust my clock in the control panel?")

Enterprise and multinational customers with a presence in Iraq (or if you schedule meetings via Outlook with customers in the region using the time zone) should review the Iraq Daylight Saving Time changes page, and follow the product group guidance provided - on the page you'll find a summary of the current status of impacted products and estimated dates when hotfixes will be available.

For details on setting up RSS feeds for these pages, see my post on getting RSS feed updates.

At Microsoft, product teams are moving to a semi-annual update cadence, following the Windows regular cadence for publishing newly legislated DST rules and time zone updates. Annual "Cumulative DST and Time Zone Updates" will be released in November/ December for the coming calendar year, and we'll also provide for a semi-annual update in the July/August timeframe when needed.  For each, the window closes for additional updates a few months (generally four to six) prior to the release date.  Our goal is that sysadmins and IT Pros can plan on rolling out and installing/ deploying these cumulative update roll-ups as they are published.

<soapbox>

I have to recommend that in order to achieve more seamless transitions to new DST rules and time zones, governments should provide 1) official confirmations of planned changes to DST and time zones, and 2) provide ample advance notice and concentrated efforts on promoting the change to the affected citizens is a requirement.  If you look at how Australia approached their upcoming change in April (more details are available here), the national government allowed eight months or so between the announcement and the actual change.  And as noted on the Australia Eastern & Central 2008 Daylight Saving Changes page (managed by the irrepressible Hugh Jones), the Aussies set up the official Australian Government Time web site to educate end users. 

</soapbox>

Tags: Microsoft, Daylight Saving Time, Daylight Savings Time, RSS, DST, Iraq.

Also available at http://bit.ly/bipS8Y.