[tz] TZDB patches, UTF-8, and Microsoft Exchange

Fred Gleason fredg at paravelsystems.com
Sun Dec 4 19:48:35 UTC 2022

On Dec 2, 2022, at 17:21, Derick Rethans via tz <tz at iana.org> wrote:

> This problem would go away if you'd except change requests through GitHub's pull request feature. 

I for one heartily second this suggestion. While I understand that this can be a sensitive issue for some long-time contributors here, given the composition of TZDB’s audience (veteran coders plus the occasional technically non-sophisticated user), I think anything that simplifies the overall workflow while making the process more transparent to non-coders would be a net win.

> It's quite a common and modern method to propose changes to open source software, that I'd expect many would already be familiar with.

I agree. The GitHub pull request process has become a sort of _lingua franca_ in the code development realm, arguably more so than any other single methodology for managing distributed open source development. In that context, the current _status quo_ is rather *anti*-user friendly in the sense that many coders, when first encountering the TZDB GitHub repo think that they already know how to generate and submit patches; only later discovering that they in fact don’t, since what is arguably the central workflow metaphor of what makes GitHub useful has (seemingly inexplicably) been switched off. 

On the basis of the patches I’ve seen go by on this listserv over the past few years, it would also seem that “easing/reducing maintenance burden” has become a major goal for TZDB. Given that, I would respectfully argue that moving to a PR-based workflow would do more towards that end than any number of minor code polishing changes.

On Dec 2, 2022, at 17:43, Paul Eggert via tz <tz at iana.org> wrote:

> Yes, but GitHub has its own problems. I'd rather stick with email, just as many other projects use email for this sort of thing. 

Well, this one at least does. FWIW, none of the other FOSS projects whose dev lists I follow use the traditional patches-via-email workflow any more. While by no means all of them use GitHub, what they all do use is some sort of system that provides automated patch generation/testing/merging along with a GUI option that allows non-coder types some level of visibility into the process.

> Also, I've been thinking of moving the development repository off GitHub for other reasons, and I don't want to rely on GitHub-specific features.

Would you care to share with us what some of those “other reasons” might be?


| Frederick F. Gleason, Jr. |             Chief Developer             |
|                           |             Paravel Systems             |
|  The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance -- it is the   |
|  illusion of knowledge.                                             |
|                                                                     |
|                                             -- Daniel J. Boorstin   |
|                                             "The Discoverers"       |
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