[tz] [PATCH 0/1] Add Asia/Beijing

John Hawkinson jhawk at mit.edu
Wed Aug 15 16:23:13 UTC 2012

Paul_Koning at Dell.com <Paul_Koning at Dell.com> wrote on Wed, 15 Aug 2012
at 16:12:44 +0000 in <C75A84166056C94F84D238A44AF9F6AD190662 at AUSX10MPC102.AMER.DELL.COM>:

> The tzdata database is used in embedded systems, not just
> workstations/servers with lots of memory and disk space.  For that
> usage, it needs to be complete.  But having lots of extra references
> to a given set of zone rules, to satisfy user interface polishing
> requirements, is a problem for memory-limited systems.

This just doesn't ring true to me. If the amount of space take up
by 100 more aliases (much less 37, or 9) is significant, then something
is very very wrong.

> Could we please move UI improvements out of the TZ project?

There's just not clear concensus that we should.

The reality is that, despite what implementors allegedly *should* do,
users frequently do encounter tz identifiers. This is manifestly true,
otherwise we would not hear so many complaints about it.

Personally, I suppose I'm a baroque elitist because I try to answer questions
like, "What time is it in Hong Kong?" by typing

$ TZ=Asia/Hong_Kong date
Thu Aug 16 00:20:34 HKT 2012

Because I don't have some superior tool that answers the question for
me.  And it seems like no amount of zone.tab improvements or
installation-time picker improvements are going to improve that
situation for me.

As I wrote offline to Paul, it seems clear to me that the amount of
time wasted in the past decade by repeating this conversation on the
list grossly outweights the time to actually make the change.

We should make the change, adjust our rules, and carry onward.
And if it turns out to be a bad idea, well, we can change our minds
again. At least we'll have dealt with the most populous cases so
they won't keep coming up again.

Digging in our heels just isn't making anyone happy.

--jhawk at mit.edu
  John Hawkinson

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