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

Paul Eggert eggert at cs.ucla.edu
Fri Sep 30 15:54:38 UTC 2016

On 09/30/2016 02:18 AM, Barry Allard wrote:
> Has the format changed somehow?

Yes and no. No, because the documented part of the format did not 
change. Yes, because TZUpdater apparently relies on an accidental 
feature (a version-number macro setting in an uninstalled Makefile) that 
happened to be part of the tz source code starting in 2012f, a feature 
that never worked well and was adjusted to work in a different way in 
2016g. I did not know about this undesirable dependency as I do not use 
TZUpdater. The TZUpdater folks did not object to the patches circulated 
earlier on this list that changed how version-numbering works. So there 
were breakdowns all around.

We have been discussing ways to do better next time, starting by 
documenting better what is supposed to be stable and what is not 
guaranteed; see 

For version numbers, we cannot go back to bad old way, as it is 
incompatible with the now-common practice of accessing data from the Git 
repository. We'll have to come up with a better way, and document it and 
support it, so that tools like TZUpdater that want a version string can 
get one. That way, the TZUpdater folks can modify their software to use 
the better way. This is currently a topic of discussion on the tz 
mailing list. Obviously whatever we come up with won't be working until 
the next tz release at the earliest.

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