[tz] Belarus is listed in MSK timezone

Tim Parenti tim at timtimeonline.com
Wed Apr 1 20:09:14 UTC 2015

On 1 April 2015 at 02:19, Paul Eggert <eggert at cs.ucla.edu> wrote:

> From 2011 to 2014 a time zone separated EET (UTC+2) from MSK (then UTC+4),
> and I invented the abbreviation "FET" for this UTC+3 zone. But it's better
> if the tz database reflects existing practice rather than inventing it, and
> since we no longer have a strong need for an invented abbreviation I'd
> rather stop using it.

I agree that discontinuing use of FET is the correct approach here.

On 1 April 2015 at 14:28, Paul Eggert <eggert at cs.ucla.edu> wrote:

> Regardless of the original etymology, in English "MSK" is a more-natural
> acronym for Minsk than it is for Moscow

Perhaps, but much as we try to say that tz abbreviations are inherently
ambiguous, MSK does have a well-established and far-reaching meaning
outside the context of our project.  Moreover, our own guiding principles
would suggest use of BYT (for "Belarus Time") or MINT (for "Minsk Time")
before considering anything else.

In fact, this is what was first proposed when Belarus switched to
year-round UTC+3 in September 2011:

Only when Ukraine announced intent to join Belarus on year-round UTC+3 a
few days later did we decide to use FET as a convenient method of grouping:

(Admittedly, we created FET because we thought at the time that it might
become more common and needed a distinct name.  In the end, we only grouped
Belarus and Kaliningrad, as Ukraine did not follow through with that plan.)

Now that Kaliningrad is on year-round UTC+2 (EET), this leaves only
Belarus.  It does not make sense to keep an invented grouping around to
group one thing, so FET should go, and it has.  But it equally doesn't make
sense to group Belarus with Moscow just because Moscow changed its clocks.
I may be wrong, I cannot think of another case where we have applied the
designation of a neighboring country to a region that has not itself
changed its timekeeping rules.  In any case, it hardly seems appropriate

> [MSK] has the advantage of being recognized as an alias for UTC+3 by a
> reasonably large set of software already (which is unwise, but there it is).

I strongly believe that this is not enough reason to outweigh consideration
of BYT and MINT.

Tim Parenti
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