[tz] Pre-1970 data

Brian Park brian at xparks.net
Fri Nov 5 19:01:26 UTC 2021

On Fri, Nov 5, 2021 at 11:23 AM Ken Murchison via tz <tz at iana.org> wrote:

> On 11/5/21 2:18 PM, Eliot Lear via tz wrote:
> Just on this point:
> On 05.11.21 17:42, Brian Park wrote:
> 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.
> Second verse, same as the first: these are database keys, not user
> interface presentation.  Nobody is forced to present any database key to a
> user.  If you have locale awareness, as most modern user-facing systems
> have, you're going to be far more granular anyway.
> Couldn't agree more with Eliot.

The practical reality is that the TZDB identifiers are externally visible
identifiers to end-users. The Unix system forces the TZDB identifiers on to
the user when I have to type this:
$ TZ=America/Toronto date

I agree that it is conceptually cleaner if the Core TZDB identifiers were
internal only. But I understand that some people would consider ISO-country
identifiers to be out of scope of this project, although there are many ad
hoc ones currently in the database. I think a file like 'countryzone'
should be added only if there are people willing to maintain such a list.
It may need to be a separate project, to avoid forcing the TZ Coordinator
to pick up the slack if those maintainers drop off.

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