References: DECODE-UNIVERSAL-TIME (p445)
Edit history: 20-Jun-88, Version 1 by Pitman
30-Sep-88, Version 2 by Masinter
The description of DECODE-UNIVERSAL-TIME does not say what happens with
TIME-ZONE. Since the description of ENCODE-UNIVERSAL-TIME mentions that
its behavior differs depending on whether a time zone is explicitly passed,
some implementors may have assumed that DECODE-UNIVERSAL-TIME should do
Even if all implementations did the same thing, it should still be clarified
whether an implementation were permitted to return dsp=NIL tz=n rather than
dsp=T tz=n+1 for time zones in which daylight savings time was believed to
be (or known to be) in effect. Currently, you cannot tell whether "NIL" for
daylight-savings-time-p means "daylight savings time is in effect" or
just "daylight savings time is not known to not be in effect".
These tools appear to be more portable than they are.
Specify that, like ENCODE-UNIVERSAL-TIME, DECODE-UNIVERSAL-TIME ignores
daylight savings information if a timezone is explicitly specified.
This makes things consistent with ENCODE-UNIVERSAL-TIME.
;; ### This test case relies on time zone not changing in real
;; ### time, in defiance of warning in note at bottom
;; ### of p445.
(LET* ((HERE (NTH 8 (MULTIPLE-VALUE-LIST (GET-DECODED-TIME)))) ;Time zone
(A (NTHCDR 7 (MULTIPLE-VALUE-LIST (DECODE-UNIVERSAL-TIME RECENTLY))))
(B (NTHCDR 7 (MULTIPLE-VALUE-LIST (DECODE-UNIVERSAL-TIME RECENTLY HERE)))))
(LIST A B (EQUAL A B)))
Under this proposal, this would return ((T 5) (NIL 5) NIL) in EDT, for example.
Symbolics Genera, Symbolics Cloe, Lucid 3.0 and Envos Medley seem to
implement this proposal. Some other implementations do not.
Cost to Implementors:
The cost of changing this should be trivial.
Cost to Users:
This feature is already not well-defined since no portable program can rely
on the current behavior, so the cost is small.
Cost of Non-Adoption:
The time primitives are considerably less useful if this point is not
clearly spelled out.
The cost of non-adoption would be avoided.
Anything that improves the intelligibility of language primitives improves
An alternative would be to specify that, unlike ENCODE-UNIVERSAL-TIME,
DECODE-UNIVERSAL-TIME treats daylight savings information the same
regardless of whether a time zone argument is explicitly or not. This seems
actually to be what was intended originally.
This problem arose while trying to port Macsyma between different
Common Lisp implementations. The cleanup committee does not have
a strong opinion on this matter, as long as the behavior is specified.