[tz] Introduction and apology for slamming you "with that TZ is a legal thing" commentary out of the blue.

Kevin Kenny kkenny2 at nycap.rr.com
Fri Oct 21 01:10:45 UTC 2011

On 10/20/2011 12:41 PM, Todd Glassey wrote:
> This specific project is one which needs a level of oversight that the
> IETF process doesnt put in place for changes and content updates to the DB.
> What needs to happen I believe is that this effort should define a
> process wherein any legal authority can request a IANA update to the
> data base and have that processed in a fixed timeframe outside of any
> continued IETF review. This is not an excuse to make a new IETF WG to
> control the world... its about letting the world operate in a manner
> which doesnt impose the IETF's judgement or political opinions on anyone
> either.

It strikes me that the current informal process - only with the
co-ordinator replaced because of Olson's retirement - is nearly ideal.
It's highly responsive; urgent tzdata updates go out immediately. And
the informality is a great advantage in light of the fact that many
timezones are contentious. As soon as you try to qualify 'legal
authorities,' you'll reopen many cans of worms. The PRC will almost
certainly attempt to assert authority over Asia/Taipei, and *will*
report Asia/Urumqi as an error (the local ethnic minority sets their
clocks differently from what the government proclaims; the tzdata
tracks both).  Israel and Palestine will contend over the setting
of the clocks in Asia/Hebron. State governments in Argentina will
conflict with the Argentine central government in the setting of the
clock in their localities. The list is nearly endless.

In all cases, the tzdata tries to present either the way clocks are
set on the ground, or to provide alternatives that describe both of
two competing authorities. It's historically served that purpose well.

IESG would be well advised not to debate changes, but to delegate them
to those that do the work.  And attempts to qualify formally who is
and is not allowed to propose changes, given the realities of
political instability, are simply going to introduce layers of
bureaucracy and bring the database further from what is actually
happening on the ground. The question of 'if I look at the clock on
the wall in locale X, what is it likely to read?' is often not answered
correctly by any government.

This is not like the definition of the second, or the current value
of UTC-UT1, or the coordination of TAI. In those cases, the only people
who have the luxury of caring about the details work in regions with 
stable governments that co-operate in technical exchange.  (The rest
of the world just wants GPS to work.) The formal processes of 
organizations like IERS are appropriate there.  But I just can't see
how they can work in the free-for-all that is the setting of the time

Don't fix what ain't broke.
73 de ke9tv/2, Kevin

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