[tz] Dropping iso3166.tab

Paul Eggert eggert at cs.ucla.edu
Tue May 21 16:38:37 UTC 2013

On 05/21/13 09:18, Paul_Koning at Dell.com wrote:
> by this argument you might have merged the entry for Venezuela with other
> South American entries a few years ago -- but then the administration
> there decided to do something different.

I think this would still work without user problems.
Suppose in 2000 we had merged America/Caracas, America/Aruba,
America/Curacao, and America/Port_of_Spain.  These
zones would have continued to work as before, because there
would be 'backward' entries.  Then, in 2007, when Venezuela
decided to move its clocks, we would have split
the America/Caracas zone into two regions,
America/Caracas and (say) America/Curacao,
and all the old names would still continue to work.
Splitting zones is a normal part of time zone
maintenance, and this sort of thing should be routine.

It's true that keeping these zones distinct
insulates users from plausible future political changes --
but the downside is that there are zillions of plausible
future political changes, and once we get into the
business of guessing which changes are plausible enough to
deserve a separate entry in the tz database, we are getting
into the business of politics, which is an area we're
better off avoiding.

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