[tz] Preparing to fork tzdb

Robert Elz kre at munnari.OZ.AU
Mon Sep 20 21:58:55 UTC 2021

    Date:        Mon, 20 Sep 2021 09:15:58 -0700
    From:        Paul Eggert via tz <tz at iana.org>
    Message-ID:  <190b4056-9ed0-f876-c32a-acb13185d114 at cs.ucla.edu>

  | Such a fork would arbitrarily discriminate against countries like Angola 
  | and Niger, and in favor of countries like Norway and Sweden.
  | A primary goal of the recent patches was to avoid racial or national 
  | preferences that were present in the previous setup. Arguably these 
  | preferences were not intentional, or were apparent and not real; 
  | however, that's not an argument I would want to defend.

Whatever the underlying merits of all of this, that argument is pure BS.

If the project were actively preventing some data from being included for
any spurious reasons, there would be a problem - but as best I can tell that
has never happened.

Further, this is a volunteer (ie: zero resources) project - we don't have
the ability (in general) to go find missing data, no matter why it is
missing.   We rely upon someone being interested, and sending us the data.
If they do that, and we have no reason to believe it is bogus data, we
install it - it doesn't need to be perfect, just someone's honest belief
that some region had some particular time behaviour sometime in the past,
ideally supported by some kind of research.   If more accurate data comes
to light later, we improve things.

If someone in (or from) Angola or Niger wants th research their timezone
history, and send it, it should be included, just like that for the US,
France, or Norway (etc).

There is no discrimination here, and there never has been, and (aside from
perhaps sometimes on what the name of a zone should be) I've never even
heard of a suggestion that there might be.    That argument is simply absurd.

Personally, I've always believed that there should be at least one zone for
every time zone authority on the planet - it simply makes things easier for
everyone.  For the users as once they have picked the zone that applies to
them, they're unlikely to need a change, and when that might happen, the
event will be very well known inside the zone (areas of a region that used
to share the same timezone being split between two times).

For the project, it means that we don't need to keep creating new zones
every time some authority decides to alter things in a way that makes them
different than other nearby regions - it really would not take much time
at all for authorities to realise that if they were decide to more the
clocks forward for 5 seconds of summer time between 03:00 and 04:00 (local
time) some Sunday in mid winter, they'd then be entitled to their own
private timezone, according to our rules.   This isn't something that we
ought to be encouraging.

The only real cost is a little extra processing time generating the zones,
and a trivial amount of zone data files.


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