[tz] Dropping iso3166.tab

Tim Thornton tt at smartcomsoftware.com
Tue May 21 10:03:39 UTC 2013

Apart from issuers with Linux, I (and I suspect quite a few hours) use the tz data in applications. I find the country code very useful in giving guidance to the extent of a time zone, and would find it a pain if it disappeared.

Also, I feel that going down this route becomes the thin end of the wedge. What would we do if the Palestinians and Israelis wanted different names for the city currently known as Jerusalem, for example?

Unfortunately there will always be disputes over territories. But I think the best apolitical approach to take is to follow the lead of organisations such as ISO. Those people unhappy with this should resolve it with (in this example) ISO. Otherwise we remove data from the data set that is useful to may users and not used with any political judgement, merely to satisfy the people who are unhappy with the standards and see the tz data set as an easy target to meet their aims.

Smartcom Software Ltd
Portsmouth Technopole
Kingston Crescent
Portsmouth PO2 8FA
United Kingdom


Smartcom Software is a limited company registered in England and Wales, registered number 05641521.

-----Original Message-----
From: tz-bounces at iana.org [mailto:tz-bounces at iana.org] On Behalf Of Paul Eggert
Sent: 21 May 2013 05:34
To: Paul_Koning at Dell.com
Cc: tz at iana.org
Subject: Re: [tz] Dropping iso3166.tab

On 05/20/2013 05:10 PM, Paul_Koning at Dell.com wrote:

> Perhaps iso3166.tab can be separated out into its own distribution.

Thanks, that's a good idea.  Let me try to flesh it out.
We can do something like the following:

(1) Remove iso3166.tab.  Others can take up its maintenance if they like.

(2) Say that zone.tab's column 1 is a comment, present only for backwards
    compatibility, and with no information as far as the tz database
    is concerned.  We can describe the backward-compatibility issue
    in a comment, and mention that the contents of column 1 do not imply
    an official position or endorsement of any territorial claims.

(3) Merge all Zones that are currently split only because of
    national boundaries.  For example, merge Africa/Bangui,
    Africa/Brazzaville, etc., into Africa/Lagos, since these zones
    have all had the same clocks since 1970.  We would of course
    retain backward-compatibility links for the merged zones, so
    they'd continue to work.

The point of (2) is that the installers for FreeBSD, Ubuntu, etc.
could continue to use zone.tab unmodified.  Our installer, tzselect, can easily be modified to ignore column 1, so that we'd be eating our own dog food.

More information about the tz mailing list