proposal for time zone names

Paul Eggert eggert at
Wed Oct 20 20:38:58 UTC 1993

I thought a bit about the problem of the explosion of time zone
names, since we're looking at time zone rules for everywhere from
Afghanistan to Zimbabwe.  What do people think about time zone
names of the from MAJOR_REGION/COUNTRY/CITY, e.g.:


The ``major regions'' would be continents (Africa, North_ and
South_ America, Antarctica, Australia, Asia, Europe) and oceans
(Antarctic, Artic, Atlantic, Indian, Pacific).  The ``minor
regions'' would typically be countries.  Only present-day English
names for regions and cities would be used.  The advantage of
going to the detail of CITY is that we can use local mean time for
times before standard time was introduced (e.g. before 1914 Jan 1
in Albania); this increases the accuracy of the database.

Of course we should maintain links to traditional names like
`Japan' and `US/Eastern' for backwards compatibility.

Since I last wrote, I've coded up two sample countries.
Asia/Afghanistan/Kabul needed just two lines of rules; Shanks says
they've changed the rules only once since they adopted standard
time in 1890.  Europe/Albania/Tirana is a much more complicated
35-liner.  Not only did it suffer the time zone vagaries of World
War II, but also its dictatorship fiddled with the clocks
seemingly at random between 1974 and 1984 before finally switching
to the Polish rules.  It looks like this will take some time.

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