[tz] Undoing the effect of the new alike-since-1970 patch

Andrew Hughes gnu.andrew at redhat.com
Tue Jun 29 15:10:29 UTC 2021

On 18:44 Tue 08 Jun     , Stephen Colebourne via tz wrote:
> On Tue, 8 Jun 2021 at 17:23, Paul Eggert via tz <tz at iana.org> wrote:
> > On 6/8/21 1:56 AM, Stephen Colebourne via tz wrote:
> > > It is possible to automatically derive the data for group 1 from the
> > > data for group 2. The other way around is not possible.
> >
> > That's OK, as I'm not proposing the other way around. I'm merely
> > proposing a flag to generate either group-1-style or group-2-style data
> > from what we have now. This should be doable relatively easily. (And if
> > I'm wrong, we can revisit this technical issue of course.)
> Are you proposing a makefile option to recreate the original source
> files using the data in backzone? That seems much harder work than
> doing it the other way around and prone to error. (Remember that
> downstream projects need the correct source files, not any other
> output file)
> One key advantage of the `idmerge` file is that it makes the merge
> process obvious. ie. that TZDB favours Berlin over Stockholm/Oslo. I'm
> proposing that the historic data is present in its original location
> (africa to southamerica). And I propose that the flag and `idmerge`
> provide the necessary tools to reduce the file size for those that
> need it.


> The importance of the full dataset being the default can be seen here
> for example:
>  https://www.oracle.com/java/technologies/javase/tzupdater-readme.html
> As can be seen, the docs expect users to download the latest tarball.
> It isn't reasonable for TZDB to demand all downstream users change
> their URL. Another variant of the same tool:
>  https://docs.azul.com/core/timezone-updater

I work on OpenJDK for Red Hat, as one of three OpenJDK 8u upstream
maintainers [0] and also packaging various versions for Fedora, CentOS
and RHEL.

We have similar tooling (based on what is in OpenJDK itself) in
Fedora, CentOS & RHEL to produce the Java data files from the TZDB
sources. This performs the same purpose as these tools; it allows
updated Java data files to be produced for the latest tzdb update,
without the JDK itself having to be updated.

I agree with Stephen that expecting every downstream usage of this
data to be updated is unreasonable, when it can just be fixed at
source. I don't see a strong case for the new structure to be the
default and to expect every downstream user to alter their code.
That in itself implies an amount of risk, as much downstream use
is in very stable codebases.

> Here is another example, where a downstream system has had to adapt to
> retain compatibility:
>  http://hg.openjdk.java.net/jdk8u/jdk8u/jdk/file/801874e394a7/make/gendata/GendataTZDB.gmk#l32
>  https://github.com/openjdk/jdk/blob/master/make/data/tzdata/jdk11_backward

I think the better link may be:


which shows the change and


the entire changeset.

We would have to bring any future tzdata update into the 8u
repositories, which are stable repositories designed for security and
bug fixes.  We don't want to be doing major reworks of TZDB data
handling there.

On that note, 8u still uses rearguard format, because we decided the
risk to switch to vanguard was not worth it. [1] [2]

> I know CLDR has previously expressed significant concern about the
> compatibility issue too.
> Stephen

[0] https://wiki.openjdk.java.net/display/jdk8u/Main
[1] https://mail.openjdk.java.net/pipermail/jdk8u-dev/2020-June/011931.html
[2] https://mail.openjdk.java.net/pipermail/jdk8u-dev/2020-October/012890.html

Andrew :)
Pronouns: he / him or they / them
Senior Free Java Software Engineer
OpenJDK Package Owner
Red Hat, Inc. (http://www.redhat.com)

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