[tz] WSJ follows AP to Kyiv

Bryan J Smith b.j.smith at ieee.org
Tue Nov 19 22:31:07 UTC 2019

Guy Harris wrote:

> Bryan J Smith wrote:
> > 1)  What are the thresholds to change the official Zoneinfo Path, not
> just an alias or other name, but the Path, of a Zone?
> theory.html doesn't appear to address this.

I was hoping someone would state this (thank you), as I felt the same after
re-reading the theory file.  Again, I could be very ignorant as 'lurker' of
around 13+ years now.

Guy Harris wrote:

> On 2008-03-18, some name changes were made:
>         Calcutta -> Kolkata
>         Saigon -> Ho_Chi_Minh
> Both reflect changes made well before 2008; for example, the respelling of
> Kolkata occurred in 2001:
>         https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2016/09/02/492447039/tk
> The first of those changes is the one closest to Kiev vs. Kyiv - the
> latter isn't just a respelling, it's a renaming, and apparently also
> corresponded to the incorporation of some other districts outside what was
> Saigon into the city.

> > 2)  How to handle any alias to the old name(s), when the official Path
> is to be changed (per #1)?
> Presumably, the same way that those other changes were made; a Link line
> is added to the "backward" file, so the old name remains for backwards
> compatibility, as a link to the new name (at least if you're using a file
> system that supports links).
> > 3)  What historical precedents are there on this matter (I've been
> trying to look through the change logs), to further validate justification
> (of #1)?
> Perhaps Calcutta -> Kolkata, although that one may not have been as
> politically sensitive as this one.

Which brings me to ...

Paul.Koning at dell.com wrote:

> The TZ names are by convention derived from the English language
> designations for the place names in question.  This is why we have a zone
> named Europe/Rome and not Europe/Roma, or Europe/Moscow rather than
> Europe/Москва́.

So this is yet another consideration, because I understand it (again,
insert possibly ignorance on my part) ...
 - Linguistical:  Anglicized
 - Technical:  Historically UTF-7 US/NIST ASCII (again, circa '86)

The former addresses ...
 - Roma, which fits in UTF-7
Plus, now ...
 - Kyiv, which fits in UTF-7

But we could clarify further, historically.  So maybe it's time to put
something, even if just further clarifications, in theory.html, as this
comes up and I could see it this way, as others do.

Then, _after_ that, only could the project (not saying so) start the debate
of (and this is just what I could think) ...

 A)  If it fits in UTF-7, should we allow it to be changed?
 B)  If it fits in some Latin set, will it be allowed to be changed?
 C)  And if now Latin ISO, then how far do we go?

Although "A" could have merit, it's going to launch a lot of issues,
whereby if Kyiv is adopted, others will argue yet others, and then Latin
("B"), and then non-Latin ("C").

I.e., I don't see this as Kyiv only, but being a project-wide change to
Roma, possibly others ... and then the 'rolls downhill' after that.

Then again, for the hypothetical question about the State Department, my
> inclination would be to say that this isn't relevant either.  While the TZ
> database operates in the English language, and a number of its contributors
> are based in the USA, it is not an activity of the US government nor
> affiliated with it nor controlled by it.

I always forget this as an American, that most people will look at US
entities involved with these as US Federal, when they are often private,
possibly not even publicly subsidized (or not much at all), and there is no
US Federal authority.  I.e., the common default that no control or power is
granted until law, let alone Supreme (Constitutional), or asserted as such
in the courts -- and pre-emption over private (or even State/Local) is not
the default of the US Federal, and that's a very, very foreign concept to
many non-Americans.

> And more importantly, the database doesn't operate on political
> considerations, that is VERY clear from the theory file.  If it were to
> change to do so, all hell would break loose -- we already have way too many
> people pushing changes for political reasons but fortunately at the moment
> we can dismiss those.

Ergo, my comment about Middle East, American South Atlantic, let alone
eastern Ukraine.

The problem is things like Kyiv (or Roma), that fit in UTF-7.  We probably
could use further clarification in the theory file on the historical
standard of US/Anglicized.  Just a suggestion.  It may be unwarranted.

- bjs

P.S.  I also wanted to post again to DISCLAIM my comments as 100% my own,
made as a peer professional, and 0% representative as myself associated
with any other entities or organizations.  Simply put, I'm an [often
ignorant] American engineer-technologist that does his best to be aware of
global considerations, but also respects historical inertia and resistance
to change for very sound, documented reasons of sustainability and
maintainability (even if seemingly US or English-based).
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