The only thing that concerns me about an Obama presidency is the heightened possibility of extremist nutjobs making an attempt on his life. The last couple of weeks of the campaign have highlighted that it is indeed possible, even coming from quarters that purport to be “against terrorism” and “for America”.

More than ever, the USA needs an inspiring leader, so I don’t want to see Obama locked away from the people, forever stuck behind bulletproof glass podiums and the windows of heavily-armoured cars.

At least there’s one very tiny sliver of silver lining, if I may smother my concern with humour for a moment: We can call his car the Hopemobile.

PHP5 vs. daylight saving in Ubuntu 8.04.1 LTS

Much of Australia went into DST mode this week, with the only holdouts being the odd little backwaters of our country (generally referred to as “Queensland”) for whom daylight saving is a threat to curtains or farm animals… and anyone relying on PHP5’s bundled timezone database.

I filed a bug and test case regarding the problem (which will hopefully be be fixed with an official update, given that Hardy is an LTS release), but here’s a quick guide to work around the problem in the mean time. Thanks to Andrew “ajmitch” Mitchell for pointing me in the right direction!

  1. Grab and unpack the timezonedb extension tarball from PECL.
  2. apt-get install php5-dev
  3. phpize
  4. ./configure --with-php-config=/usr/bin/php-config5
  5. make
  6. sudo cp modules/timezonedb.so /usr/lib/php5/20060613/
    Note: The precise name of the final directory might be different. For instance, on hardy-i386 it will be 20060613+lfs.
  7. sudo vi /etc/php/conf.d/timezonedb.ini
    Yes, this is a new file. Content: extension=timezonedb.so
  8. sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 force-reload

Now your PHP has the very latest timezone data up its sleeve, so you can rest easy knowing that your web visitors won’t think you’re a Queenslander.

Zing! :-)

Update: The php5-timezonedb extension was added to Debian, but removed from intrepid… seems it was because intrepid’s php5 has a patch to use the system tzdata. It would be awesome to get that patch into hardy!

Update: Uh, what about make…? :-)