[tz] Pre-1970 data

Brian Park brian at xparks.net
Fri Nov 5 16:42:42 UTC 2021

On Fri, Nov 5, 2021 at 8:47 AM Eliot Lear <lear at lear.ch> wrote:

> On 05.11.21 16:26, Brian Park via tz wrote:
> Can you explain why [no ISO countries]? Because it will cause arguments
> about disputed places? I think only a small minority of places around the
> world are disputed.
> Over the time I have been following this group:
>    - YAR, South Yemen -> Yemen
>    - Zaire -> DRC
>    - East Germany, West Germany -> Germany
>    - Yugoslavia -> Croatia, Serbia & Montenegro, Bosnia Herzegovina,
>    Slovenia, Macedonia
>    - Serbia & Montenegro -> Serbia, Montenegro
>    - Serbia -> Serbia & Kosovo
>    - Macedonia -> Northern Macedonia
>    - Czechoslovakia, The Czech Republic, Slovakia
>    - Czech Republic -> Czechia
>    - Sudan -> Sudan, South Sudan
>    - And then there's Russia and the Ukraine
>    - Israel & Palestine
>    - And South Africa and Namibia
> I'm sure I'm missing a few.
> You may say that these are a minority of nations, but these changes have
> NOT by themselves necessitated ANY work on the part of this project.  That
> is a feature.  To be clear, that work would involve someone taking a
> political stance, even if that means supporting UN decisions (that's a
> political decision).

Thanks for the historical context, this is a good list to have.

It looks like some of those are name changes, and some of those are
disputed regions. I think we would be able to create appropriate policies
to govern the various situations. With my proposal of refactoring the
ISO-country timezones into a separate 'countryzone' file, the churn would
be isolated to that file.

Perhaps there is a difference in perspective as well. As a downstream
library maintainer, I almost always try to be an advocate of the end-users.
I try to ask myself, "How can I make things easier for my users?", instead
of "How can I make things easier for me, or the TZDB maintainers?" I
understand the advantages of an abstract organization of timezones to
prevent churn. But the lack of ISO-country based timezones causes a
suboptimal experience for the end-users. We can solve that problem using a
thin mapping layer on top of the more abstract timezone identifiers.

> Better to stick with what we have: observe what people on the ground think
> the time is.
I've seen this a few times, but I don't understand it. No normal person on
the ground thinks their time is "America/Los_Angeles". It's "US/Pacific". No
normal person in Toronto thinks their time is "America/Toronto". Their
country is not even America. They think their timezone is "Canada/Eastern".
People are forced to use "America/Los_Angeles" or "America/Toronto" because
the TZDB forced that nomenclature upon our users. It seems a mapping layer,
like the 'countryzone' file containing ISO-countries, would be the one that
provides the timezones that people use on the ground.
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