FW: Typos, duplicates, old/new names

Scott Atwood scott.roy.atwood at gmail.com
Thu Jun 11 18:47:26 UTC 2009


The timezone identifiers used by the Olson timezone database aren't
necessarily intended for direct use by end users.  Many of the issues you
report are due to the rules and conventions used for selecting timezone
identifier names.

The basic structure of the timezone identifiers is usually in two parts.
The first part identifies the continent or ocean in which the timezone is
located.  The second part is the name of the largest or most important city
within the timezone.  North America and South America are collapsed into a
single top level identifier of America.  This structure was chosen because
continents and cities tend to be relatively stable entities, but country
names and their borders can vary wildly over time.

Indiana, Kentucky, and Argentina have particularly interesting time zone
histories, which means they contain relatively many timezones identified by
relatively nondescript cities.  So in order to avoid ambiguity and/or
conflict in timezone identifiers, an additional level in the timezone
hierarchy was introduced for these regions.

Most of the issues you identify are related to backwards compatibility
links.  Once a timezone identifier has been created, it should remain stable
so that software that relies on an existing timezone identifier won't break
when the timezone package is updated.  So if a timezone identifier needs to
change, the old timezone identifier is kept as an alias for the new name.

Most of the duplicates you note are due to changes in the preferred English
transliteration of foreign city names.  The abbreviations of Australian
timezones and the cardinal direction Australian timezones are deprecated
timezone identifiers that are backwards compatibility links to timezones in
the current Continent/City format.  When a city name changes, the old name
is kept as an alias for the new name.  ComodRivadavia is also a backwards
compatibility link.

Unless these backwards compatibility links are causing serious issues with
your application, I urge you to leave them be, since they be required by
some clients who already rely on them.  However, it may not be unreasonable
to not display the backwards compatibility links in a UI that end users use
to select a new time zone.

The timezone identifiers can only contain upper and lower case ASCII
letters, and underscores.  Spaces, apostrophes, and accented letters are not
allowed.  Hence Dumont d'Urville becomes DumontDUrville.

And for what it's worth, there is a Central Western time zone in Australia,
but it is unofficial, and though it covers a large area, it encompasses only
a very small population.

I hope this answers your concerns.  Please let me know if you have any
further questions.


On Thu, Jun 11, 2009 at 6:16 AM, Olson, Arthur David (NIH/NCI) [E] <
olsona at dc37a.nci.nih.gov> wrote:

> I'm forwarding this message from Naoko McCracken, who is not on the time
> zone mailing list. Those of you who are on the list, please direct
> replies appropriately.
>                                --ado
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Naoko McCracken [mailto:info at nao-net.com]
> Sent: Thursday, June 11, 2009 2:01
> To: tz at lecserver.nci.nih.gov
> Subject: Typos, duplicates, old/new names
> Hi,
> I was directed to your project when I reported issues with WordPress
> language file.
> They use your timezone database via the php function
> timezone_identifiers_list() to fetch country names for:
> http://svn.automattic.com/wordpress-i18n/pot/trunk/wordpress-continents-
> cities.pot
> My post:
> http://comox.textdrive.com/pipermail/wp-polyglots/2009-May/003435.html
> Reply:
> http://comox.textdrive.com/pipermail/wp-polyglots/2009-May/003439.html
> There are a couple more things reported by another language file
> maintainer:
> http://comox.textdrive.com/pipermail/wp-polyglots/2009-May/003443.html
> I'm totally new here and not sure if I'm sending this to the right
> place.
> I'd appreciate it if someone can help me through to get these issues
> straightened.
> Thank you,
> ---
> Naoko McCracken
> http://ja.wordpress.org/

Scott Atwood

Cycle tracks will abound in Utopia.  ~H.G. Wells
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