[tz] Belarus is listed in MSK timezone

Lester Caine lester at lsces.co.uk
Thu Apr 23 10:53:19 UTC 2015

On 23/04/15 11:42, Paul Eggert wrote:
> Dzmitry Kazimirchyk wrote:
>> I would like for the last time to kindly ask about the main reasoning
>> behind it
> To some extent I'm repeating myself, but here goes:
> Although there is no widely-used English-language abbreviation for Minsk
> time, the database forces us to put something there.  We've used MSK for
> it in the past and there hasn't been any technical problems with it, and
> there's not sufficient justification to invent a new abbreviation. 
> Among other things, although Minsk is an unusual case, it's by no means
> unique: there are other cases of multiple Zones sharing the same
> abbreviation and UTC offset even though the full zone names differ (PST
> in Pitcairn and the US) and of a country "stealing" a neighbor's
> abbreviation (AST in Iraq and Saudi Arabia).
> More generally, a primary goal of the tz database is to reflect common
> practice, not to invent it.  For example, the next tz release is planned
> to change an abbreviation used in the United States zone America/Adak,
> as we invented one abbreviation (HAST) but we have since found that
> standard practice is to use a different one (HST).  Years ago, before I
> knew better, I invented a lot of abbreviations and put them into the tz
> database, but that was a questionable practice and we're better off
> avoiding it when we can, as is the case with both Adak and Minsk.

It is also perhaps surprising how much more historic data is being
uncovered over time to fill in other gaps. This needs local input, so
just as today we rely on notifications such as for the change in Egypt
time, if there is documentary evidence for any correction to a name or
abbreviation it needs pointing out just as much?

Lester Caine - G8HFL
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