New home for time zone stuff by 2012?
suew at us.ibm.com
Mon Aug 31 20:26:05 UTC 2009
It might be best to separate the hosting issues for the tz database from
the governance issues.
My vote is for hosting the tz data on a site that has a higher profile in
the standards world. To me, the Unicode site would be an excellent
There are various reasons for wanting a higher profile url such as:
It lends credibility to the data. In the past, when I have pointed people
to the twinsun site, I've had to convince them that this is a reputable
site and that the data can be trusted. I think a higher profile hosting
site would be desirable in overcoming the skepticism with trusting this
data. For those of us who have been associate with the tz data for a long
time, this may be hard to understand but for those new to it, it takes a
leap of faith.
Personal sites or sites associated with a specific company are not
desirable. Too many companies are dependent upon this data. A personal
site could go away overnight if the person got hit by a bus while crossing
the street. On the other hand, a corporate site raises competitive
concerns. What if my competitor is controlling that data that I depend
Governments may be more willing to participate directly if the tz
workgroup is seen as a more formal standards organization as determined by
the hosting site.
So, IBM would like to see the hosting done by a site with a higher profile
in the open standards world. As stated above, the Unicode site is a good
option, especially since they have offered to host it and they are a high
profile site that hosts multiple different important standards. Clearly,
someone will have to make sure that the new site has the data storage,
security, and server capacity to handle the data and traffic volumes for
As for governance. The governing body of the tz data would determine (as
they do today) the processes for updating the data and for updating the
data structure. There isn't any reason that this would have to change
just because the hosting organization has changed. Mark Davis said that
all that the Unicode consortium would want is a clearly defined process
for how updating is handled. It doesn't have to be process-heavy, just
documented. That's not a bad requirement. Of course it might not be a bad
idea to start thinking about how this tz database could be taken to a new
Here are some other thoughts:
It would be nice to have a formal name for this tz group. The tz database
has always sounded a bit informal to me. It doesn't sound like a name and
so this group doesn't seem to have a name.
If it were a formal standard, maybe governments would be more willing to
submit updates directly to tz. Maybe work with the governments that make
regular changes such as Egypt or Brazil to establish a formal method of
notification. Maybe create a tool or a standard XML format or some other
more formal but reasonably easy way to submit tz changes.
The rather informal approach to handling updates has worked remarkably
well up to now but this group might benefit from a little more formal
structure as we get ready for Mr. Olson to leave in a few years. "Formal"
can still be lightweight.
It would be nice if the tz mailing list was posted in a news group format
or forum where different threads of discussion could be tracked
Since this approach to tz data has worked very well for many years, it
would be unproductive to invent some new organization to do this same
work. A better approach is to take this up a notch and make this into a
slightly more formally recognized organization.
Susan J Williams
Globalization Leadership Team, IBM
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the tz