I experienced similar results on Linux servers with PHP 5.2.6 and 5.2.10, although the difference was not that significant on these servers: The PHP 5.2.10 server did run with date_default_timezone_set ("only") twice as fast as without.
The 5.2.6 server did 5 times faster with date_default_timezone_set.
I checked PHP 4.4.9 on Windows (without date_default_timezone_set of course) and noticed that its as fast as PHP 5.2.6 with date_default_timezone_set.
The following script shows this: After poundering and knocking my head on the table, I finally got a proper fix for Windows and PHP timezone handling.
Since Windows applies the DST to Active Time Bias in the registry, you only need this to apply.
The only problem is, that it cant use the timezone_set command.
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I'm sure I'm not the only one who is distressed by the recent default behavior change to E_NOTICE when the timezone isn't explicitly set in the program or in
I insure that the clock on the server IS correct, and I don't want to have to set it in two places (the system AND PHP). But PHP won't accept that answer, and insists on a call to this function.
So, here's my answer: This creates a huge problem for downloadable programs, which obviously cannot be hardcoded as this suggests, since the coder has no idea where they will be run.