[tz] Are tzdata2016g & tzdata-latest missing the VERSION file?

Steve Summit scs at eskimo.com
Fri Sep 30 13:51:50 UTC 2016

Barry Allard wrote:
> Has the format changed somehow? If this and future database files were
> to break backwards-compatibility arbitrarily...

The format of the tzdata files themselves is, I think, sacrosanct.
There are no compatibility issues there.

The recently-discussed issues all have to do with packaging and
distribution, which affects system integrators and people who
repackage and redistribute the data.  As far as I know it does
not affect the end systems at all.

Also, I get the impression -- though I am not an expert on the
issues -- that most of the recent compatibility issues have
involved repackagers and redistributors who had, unbeknownst to
the core tz maintainers, become dependent on accidental aspects
of the core distribution which were not part of the defined
interface.  There was no reason to suspect that making an
essentially inside-the-black-box change to the implementation
would end up breaking someone's downstream repackaging mechanism,
until the reports came back that they had.

It's true, though, that once a resource has become as widespread
and indispensable as the tz database is, there's a fine line to
be walked between an appropriate level of conservatism so as not
to perturb downstream consumers, versus not making any
improvements at all.

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