[tz] Time zone renaming overview

Tobias Conradi mail.2012 at tobiasconradi.com
Tue Apr 16 11:55:58 UTC 2013

On Tue, Apr 16, 2013 at 9:14 AM, Tim Thornton <tt at smartcomsoftware.com> wrote:
> Can I suggest that before we wade in and change time zone abbreviations we
> ought to step back and agree on what basis the abbreviations are set.
And documenting this in the Theory file may help in enforcement.

> This may be by a number of possible criteria, to name a few:
> - what is specified by the laws governing that area
Does not work, there can be several esp. in multilingual countries.
It will also involve Romanization for non-Latin script definition in
single language countries, so increasing complexity.

> - what is in common place usage by the inhabitants of that area
Same as above.

> - creation of a unique and consistent time zone nomenclature, removing the
> inconsistencies of the above two methods
Looks good and the current implementation
- English language as source
- ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 codes as source
- structure in %s
work in that direction

> - an arbitrary abbreviation for internal use by the TZ code and data that
> may approximate the above
arbitrary and approximation seems to be contradictory to me.

> Also, we need to think through whether changes should be applied
> retrospectively or not, or whether perhaps we run a new set of abbreviations
> in parallel to the old ones, which become deprecated as they are replaced by
> the new ones.
That would require tzcode change.

> Unless we do this first, changes are likely to be made on the basis of who
> shouts loudest,
or what the TZ Coordinator likes most

> regardless of any merit they may have, and as those
> promoting changes will each have their own agendas I would expect the naming
> to become even less consistent than it is.
Depends on how much extra inconsistency the TZ Coordinator lets in.

> I don't use the abbreviations in my use of the database, so apart from
> having to dig through all of the noise that this debate generates on the
> mailing list it doesn't affect me much. But perhaps a good starting point
> would be to review how the time zone abbreviations in this project are
> currently used, and also what ISO and web standards there may already be for
> naming of time zones outside of this project, and decide whether we should
> aim to align with one of them.
On could also approach ISO and ask them to design a standard.

Tobias Conradi
Rheinsberger Str. 18
10115 Berlin


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