[tz] Astrakhan region got approval to change its time zone

Paul Eggert eggert at cs.ucla.edu
Tue Feb 16 22:27:44 UTC 2016

On 02/16/2016 01:38 PM, Tim Parenti wrote:
> That's not a particular obstacle; we already use SAMT for the Udmurt 
> Republic as well

Which is equally ridiculous! People in Udmurtia surely don't think of 
themselves as being on Samara time. It'd be like a Missourian saying 
that Missouri is on Dallas time.

The only reason we use SAMT for Udmurtia is because I wanted to stop 
inventing abbreviations and I had to put *something* in there. We should 
be taking these inventions out, not enshrining them.

> "+0400" which is preferable to "+04"; the latter are wholly redundant 
> with the "%z" and "%:::z" format strings offered by date

It's not redundant at all. Applications like 'date +%z' are already 
using portable numeric time zone abbreviations and are unaffected by our 
choice of abbreviations, so they are not a problem. The problem occurs 
with legacy or poorly-designed new applications, written by programmers 
who mistakenly think that the traditional "EST/CST/PST" style is 
generally useful. These applications are by definition not using %z or 
%:::z, but they still need to output *something*, and that output should 
not consist of our bogus inventions.

> I think that's an argument for improving our toolchain accordingly, 
> rather than shoving this into the legacy system.

What other improvements do you have in mind?

> perhaps this is a transition which should be planned out more and 
> rolled-out together across a wider set of zones once our toolchain can 
> support it.

It would be easy to propose a patch to roll out the change to dozens of 
zones right away; no tool-change should be needed. My suggestion is more 
conservative: use the new-style abbreviations in only a few new zones at 
first, to give users a chance to try out the new abbreviations without 
changing the behavior of existing settings.

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