[tz] Commentary-only releases - let's not (was: Re: Please Don't Feed the Trolls (was Kyiv not Kiev))

Martin Burnicki martin.burnicki at meinberg.de
Fri Jul 1 07:48:28 UTC 2022

Stuart Bishop via tz wrote:
> On Wed, 29 Jun 2022 at 17:51, Philip Paeps via tz <tz at iana.org 
> <mailto:tz at iana.org>> wrote:
>     On 2022-06-28 20:54:13 (+0800), Martin Burnicki via tz wrote:
>      > even though usually a new version of the DB is only released if some
>      > TZ rule was changed, it should not be too hard to simply release
>     a new
>      > version now
>     I strongly disagree with this view.
>     While the effort required from the tz coordinator to tag a release may
>     be minimal, this is not the case for the many downstream maintainers.
>     Every update presents a risk.  Bear in mind that tzdb updates end up
>     being pushed to hundreds of millions of end-user devices, if not more.
>     Downstream maintainers are cranky enough as-is, following the churn in
>     2021 (which still has not been completely resolved).  If we start
>     tagging tzdb releases without actual tz changes, downstream maintainers
>     will be even more likely to diverge from the closely tracking tzdb.
>     This is ultimately bad news for end users.
>     For the avoidance of doubt: I completely agree that renaming
>     Europe/Kiev
>     to Europe/Kyiv was the correct thing to do.  My objection is to tagging
>     tzdb releases with only commentary changes and no data changes.
> Counterpoint, as a downstream maintainer I would appreciate prompt 
> releases for popular requests such as the renaming of Europe/Kiev. 
> Fielding requests and redirecting them to IANA has already taken more 
> time and mindshare than me popping out a new release with updated data.

I fully agree.

And there's another aspect that has not yet been discussed at all: The 
social and cultural aspects of such rules.

Some years ago I joined a conference about the future of UTC and there 
was a very interesting talk by Kevin Birth (Professor at the Department 
of Anthropology, Queens College, CUNY), and a related discussion, which 
pointed out that social and cultural aspects are often not taken into 
account when technical standards are established or decisions on 
technical changes are made, which may finally lead to missing acceptance 
of those standards and organizations in parts of the world.

U have to admit that I didn't have these facts on my mind, either, 
before this conference, but the more I think about it, the more I see 
how important this is for international cooperation and agreements.

Having this in mind, I think that since the TZDB was introduced, there 
hasn't been a similar world-wide crisis like the current one, so this is 
a situation where it should be perfectly fine to make an exception from 
the default and make a comment-only release once.

> If anything, infrequent releases are more of a problem for me (of course 
> I can't speak for other downstreams). The longer between releases, the 
> more likely it is that my release machinery has atrophied, the more 
> accumulated bugs need to be fixed, and under higher time pressure as the 
> release is more likely to have some time critical change included.

That's exactly what I think, too. We have observed that with leap 
seconds. Years ago, when there were leap seconds every 12 or 18 months, 
they didn't cause any malfunctions because developers had leap seconds 
on their mind.

Problems started after there had been several years without a leap 
second, because many people just forgot about them, didn't care, and 
when a leap second came up, there were quite some problems.

This is no statement for or against leap seconds, and I don't want to 
start a discussion about this. I'm just trying to point out a similar 
case where less errors occur when things happen frequently.

Martin Burnicki

Senior Software Engineer

MEINBERG Funkuhren GmbH & Co. KG
Email: martin.burnicki at meinberg.de
Phone: +49 5281 9309-414
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/martinburnicki/

Lange Wand 9, 31812 Bad Pyrmont, Germany
Amtsgericht Hannover 17HRA 100322
Geschäftsführer/Managing Directors: Günter Meinberg, Werner Meinberg, 
Andre Hartmann, Heiko Gerstung
Websites: https://www.meinberg.de  https://www.meinbergglobal.com
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: OpenPGP_signature
Type: application/pgp-signature
Size: 840 bytes
Desc: OpenPGP digital signature
URL: <http://mm.icann.org/pipermail/tz/attachments/20220701/818de760/attachment.sig>

More information about the tz mailing list