[tz] Preparing to fork tzdb

Clive D.W. Feather clive at davros.org
Wed Sep 22 10:13:50 UTC 2021

Tony Finch said:
> > >> Oh, please define "country".
> > > Jon Postel deftly answered that question in the 1980s by deferring to ISO
> > > 3166,
> >
> > Except that [...]
> I don't think anyone is claiming it is perfect, just that it is the best
> list available: it is familiar, widely used in Internet standards,
> reasonably well maintained, and other people are responsible so we don't
> have to fuss about it.

Perhaps. And for fairly uncontentious things, it may well work.

But if we start saying "every 'country' with an ISO 3166 code has its own
time zone", then how long will it be before (to pick an example) the Welsh
start saying "we've got our own country domain, so we want our own time

Time zones should only be in the database if they differ in some way from
all other time zones or they are in there for backwards compatibility
reasons (so as to not break existing users), though those should be marked
as deprecated and users of TZDB encouraged not to use them for new

The meaning of "in some way" appears to be the actual point of contention.
"in some way since 1970-01-00" is an arguable choice. "relates loosely to
a specific ISO 3166 code" or "has a name in a different country to where I
live" isn't. IMAO, of course.

Clive D.W. Feather          | If you lie to the compiler,
Email: clive at davros.org     | it will get its revenge.
Web: http://www.davros.org  |   - Henry Spencer
Mobile: +44 7973 377646

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