[tz] What are the interfaces to the TZDB?

Brian Park brian at xparks.net
Tue Nov 9 19:38:43 UTC 2021

On Tue, Nov 9, 2021 at 8:29 AM Paul Eggert via tz <tz at iana.org> wrote:

> On 11/9/21 02:23, Eliot Lear wrote:
> > Which are we talking about?  There are already the POSIX interfaces. Are
> > we talking about the binary files?  Is this something on which we are
> > likely to gain consensus?
> For binary files (the TZif files) we have Internet RFC 8536 and its
> draft successor RFC 8536bis
> <https://datatracker.ietf.org/doc/draft-murchison-rfc8536bis/>. Arthur,
> Ken and I drafted this mostly tzdb's tzfile.5, and although the RFC has
> been mentioned occasionally this mailing list has not focused on that
> effort and hasn't helped its progress.  (Occasionally people here have
> suggested using up the spare space in the TZif header for some
> extension, but none of these proposals have seemed to be worth the cost.)
> The issues causing controversy on this list have been in areas not
> covered by RFC 8536 (or RFC 6557, for that matter). If we wanted another
> RFC to address these other issues, I suppose one way to do it would be
> to draft one starting with material already in tzdb. It'd take some work
> to draft any such RFC, though, and any drafters would need to be
> thick-skinned.

Is the TZDB project intended to support only POSIX systems? I had assumed
that the C library was the reference implementation, and the TZif was the
file format supporting the reference implementation, not the API into the
TZDB. For my downstream library, I parse the raw zone files directly from
GitHub. That makes it easy to integrate into the GitHub Actions continuous
build system, and I can test against the most recent commits. My downstream
usage does not have a file system, or even an operating system. For me, the
API into the TZDB project are the raw files, but I understand that my usage
is unusual.

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