[tz] KyivNotKiev

Paul Eggert eggert at cs.ucla.edu
Sat Nov 28 18:37:40 UTC 2020

On 11/26/20 6:06 AM, John Hawkinson wrote:
> Turns out I was wrong, Wikipedia switched before tz.

I'm not surprised, as Wikipedia is more aggressive about changing names, partly 
because they have fewer backward-compatibility concerns. There are billions of 
devices containing a copy of tzdb with lots of other software and documentation 
pointing at the names. Wikipedia doesn't have that problem.

Also, I am leery of being influenced much by Wikipedia, as it's not a reliable 
source and name changes like this are due largely to internal Wikipedia 
politics. That being said, Wikipedia renamed its Calcutta page to Kolkata in 
2005, three years before tzdb renamed Asia/Calcutta to Asia/Kolkata. If a 
similar schedule applied this time around, we'd rename Asia/Kiev in 2023. There 
are arguments for changing sooner (if only to lessen the number of emails to the 
list :-), and for later (as laziness is often a virtue in computing :-). I'm 
sure it will balance out somehow.

PS. Andriy, I'm not sure whether you've seen the relevant commentary in the 
source code, which you can find here:


# As is usual in tzdb, Ukrainian zones use the most common English spellings.
# For example, tzdb uses Europe/Kiev, as "Kiev" is the most common spelling in
# English for Ukraine's capital, even though it is certainly wrong as a
# transliteration of the Ukrainian "Київ".  This is similar to tzdb's use of
# Europe/Prague, which is certainly wrong as a transliteration of the Czech
# "Praha".  ("Kiev" came from old Slavic via Russian to English, and "Prague"
# came from old Slavic via French to English, so the two cases have something
# in common.)  Admittedly English-language spelling of Ukrainian names is
# controversial, and some day "Kyiv" may become substantially more popular in
# English; in the meantime, stick with the traditional English "Kiev" as that
# means less disruption for our users.

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