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RFC 5322, "Internet Message Format", October 2008

Source of RFC: IETF - NON WORKING GROUP
Area Assignment: app

Errata ID: 2726
Status: Held for Document Update
Type: Editorial

Reported By: Tony Finch
Date Reported: 2011-02-21
Held for Document Update by: Pete Resnick

Section 3.3 says:

   The zone specifies the offset from Coordinated Universal Time (UTC,
   formerly referred to as "Greenwich Mean Time") that the date and
   time-of-day represent.  The "+" or "-" indicates whether the time-of-
   day is ahead of (i.e., east of) or behind (i.e., west of) Universal
   Time.  The first two digits indicate the number of hours difference
   from Universal Time, and the last two digits indicate the number of
   additional minutes difference from Universal Time.  (Hence, +hhmm
   means +(hh * 60 + mm) minutes, and -hhmm means -(hh * 60 + mm)
   minutes).  The form "+0000" SHOULD be used to indicate a time zone at
   Universal Time.  Though "-0000" also indicates Universal Time, it is
   used to indicate that the time was generated on a system that may be
   in a local time zone other than Universal Time and that the date-time
   contains no information about the local time zone.

It should say:

   The zone specifies the offset from Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) 
   that the date and time-of-day represent.
   The "+" or "-" indicates whether the time-of-
   day is ahead of (i.e., east of) or behind (i.e., west of) UTC.
   The first two digits indicate the number of hours difference
   from UTC, and the last two digits indicate the number of
   additional minutes difference from UTC.  (Hence, +hhmm
   means +(hh * 60 + mm) minutes, and -hhmm means -(hh * 60 + mm)
   minutes).  The form "+0000" SHOULD be used to indicate a time zone at
   UTC.  Though "-0000" also indicates UTC, it is
   used to indicate that the time was generated on a system that may be
   in a local time zone other than UTC and that the date-time
   contains no information about the local time zone.

Notes:

It is not correct to say that UTC was formerly referred to as GMT. I think this was an editorial mistake: RFC 822 did not use the term UTC and said "Universal Time (formerly called Greenwich Mean Time)" which is reasonably correct for UT without a suffix.

For the purposes of RFC 5322 and for consistency with RFC 3339 and ISO 8601 I think it is best to refer to UTC throughout - though see the next erratum for notes on the obsolete syntax.

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