[tz] Pre-1970 data

Philip Paeps philip at trouble.is
Fri Nov 5 04:37:31 UTC 2021

On 2021-11-05 07:03:33 (+0800), Stephen Colebourne via tz wrote:
> On Wed, 3 Nov 2021 at 22:40, Paul Eggert <eggert at cs.ucla.edu> wrote:
>> On 10/18/21 06:07, Stephen Colebourne via tz wrote:

> The ironclad rule (AFAICT) is that there was always an *ID* for each
> ISO country, and that the data it returned was acceptably accurate,
> not outrageously wrong.

While we could quibble about how "ironclad" the rule was, the tzdb 
certainly leaned in that direction until comparatively recently.  That 
aside though, I completely support the second half of this sentence as a 
guiding principle of what the tzdb ought to provide.  Acceptably 
accurate, not outrageously wrong.

> If you genuinely do want to reduce your volunteer work to only be the
> abstract post-1970 regions and not to maintain any data pre-1970, then
> you really should be clear about that. You could then look for an
> alternate maintainer of tzdb itself as you would be maintaining what
> amounts to a new database, which would best sit in a different git
> repo. That data could then be an input to tzdb itself.

In all the heated discussions we've had on this mailing list in recent 
months, I don't believe we actually discussed the way the tzdb is 
maintained and whether we can improve it.  There was a suggestion to 
replace Paul as coordinator.  I do not support this.  As far as I can 
tell, we never discussed the maintenance process.

We seem to be taking it for granted that the coordinators (Paul and Tim) 
are doing all the work maintaining the tzdb.  Other contributions are 
essentially updates to historical information and upcoming changes to 
transitions, which the coordinators merely merge and credit.

This way of working places a huge burden on the coordinators.  I cannot 
find any reason to criticise Paul for wanting to reduce his maintenance 
workload.  While I do not agree with the consequences of merging time 
zone regions, under the circumstances the premise is sound.

Maybe we can spread the burden of maintenance over more volunteers.  
Note that I am not suggesting we replace the coordinators or abolish 
their role.  Instead of both coordinating and doing all the work, others 
could step up and volunteer to help maintain the data.

Stephen, you have been very vocal about supporting one identifier per 
ISO code.  Would you volunteer to putting in the work of maintaining 
this?  Are others on this list willing to help share this work?  
Paul/Tim, would you support coordinating the efforts of additional 
maintainers and ensuring that what ends up in the repository continues 
to meet the high standards of quality the community expects?


Philip Paeps
Senior Reality Engineer
Alternative Enterprises

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