RFC: Timestamps/timezones proposal

Graham Leggett minfrin at sharp.fm
Fri Jul 18 12:23:00 EDT 2008

Charles Day wrote:

> No, splits don't have posting dates or times. The entire transaction 
> uses a single timestamp. That's how it works now. Under this proposal, 
> that timestamp would only be *displayed* differently in different 
> registers, or not, according to your preference.

This is still very broken.

If the accounts have different timezones, then the split in account A 
can fall on a different date to the split in account B, even though they 
have the same timestamp. User confusion results.

You can try and kludge it as much as you like: A timestamp will never 
reliably represent a date no matter what hoops you jump through.

> I disagree. If GnuCash uses timestamps, but a particular user such as 
> yourself wants to disable the effects of time of day and time zone 
> differences, then GnuCash could be set to use a single time zone for all 
> accounts. I imagine there being a global preference called something 
> like "I want to enter transaction times", which would be off by default, 
> causing GnuCash to completely ignore the time zone of your computer, So 
> when you moved your computer between time zones, it wouldn't affect your 
> accounting.

Under what circumstances would an end user ever choose the option 
"randomly change the dates on my transactions when I change the timezone 
on my machine"?

As I have said before, there are *severe penalties* for getting 
financial information incorrect. Tax authorities will *fine* you for 
submitting inaccurate information. This bug exposes gnucash users to non 
trivial risk during a tax audit.

Any fix to this problem must not include scope for a programmer of 
gnucash to accidentally use the system timezone for date calculations 
and in so doing introduce subtle to find and dangerous bugs.

Using timestamps is begging for trouble.

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