[tz] Timezone error (Kyiv not Kiev)

Russ Allbery eagle at eyrie.org
Wed Jul 6 00:27:58 UTC 2022

"Stephen Trainor (Crookneck) via tz" <tz at iana.org> writes:

> True, but clearly there’s major inertia when it comes to changing them,
> as evidenced by the last several years of debate on K**v. So which is
> it? Easily mutable identifiers that users supposedly never see or human
> consumable ‘readable’ IDs?

I think this is a little bit backwards in that nearly all of the demand
for mutability comes from the human-consumable property.  If it weren't
for having to occasionally deal with changes in human naming conventions,
there would be no reason to change the identifiers at all, only split them
when one shared set of rules diverges.  And changing the identifiers is a
hassle (and an unwanted distraction into non-time-relevant politics).

So I would put the conflict differently.  It's a tension between immutable
identifiers that would be meaningless to humans and identifiers that have
to be mutable because humans derive meaning from them.  There's obviously
a technical preference for the former, including occasionally advocacy of
treating the identifiers as immutable no matter how human-readable they
appear to be and letting them diverge from real-world geographic names.
But the current reality is that humans do see the identifiers and
therefore do care about them.

No one was particularly enthused by my suggestion a while back to
explicitly use two layers of identifies, one that's immutable UUIDs (or
sequential numbers or whatever) representing rule sets, and another that's
*only* a mapping from human-readable names to immutable UUIDs that could
be maintained by some non-technical body whose raison d'etre is dealing
with human political conflicts.  Understandably so, since that would add a
chunk of infrastructure and additional work to create flexibility where
it's not clear that it's needed, and due to backward-compatibility
constraints it's not clear if it could even achieve its desired goals.
But as a result the tz database continues with the current compromise of
sometimes-mutable, human-discouraged identifiers and endless arguments
over intent and political responsibility.

Russ Allbery (eagle at eyrie.org)             <https://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

More information about the tz mailing list