[tz] TZDB use cases

Russ Allbery eagle at eyrie.org
Sat Oct 2 03:04:57 UTC 2021

Paul Eggert via tz <tz at iana.org> writes:

> Yes, others have proposed this, notably Russ Allbery in
> <https://mm.icann.org/pipermail/tz/2021-September/030518.html>. It's not
> clear, though, whether merely adding this level of indirection would be
> worth the cost. It wouldn't remove political concerns, for example. Nor
> would it address Zone splits any better than the current approach does.

> Although it might be worth adding abstract IDs to implement a larger
> project, I'd like to see that larger project's outlines before opining.

I think it would be useful primarily if it made sense to hand off the
political concerns to a different body that had the infrastructure to
apply more political rules to making decisions (assuming that's considered
appropriate).  The Unicode CLDR, for example (although I have no idea if
they want that duty).

It handles zone splits better in the specific sense that it separates
naming from adding the data and makes it uncontroversial to add a new
abstract ID with different rules.  It doesn't make it any easier to decide
what to call that zone (if anything; it would be possible to have abstract
zones that have no names), and where the existing name should point, which
seems to be where most of the political disputes lie.  It just enables
those decisions to be made by a different party.

If there's no desire to hand off the naming portions to a different body,
the level of indirection may not serve any useful purpose.  It does make
it easier for different groups to maintain different sets of names while
sharing the same underlying data, but that results in inconsistent
behavior for users despite using the same name, which is presumably
undesirable.  (That's currently happening right now, however, and to a
lesser extent happens if backzone is included in the data set.)

Russ Allbery (eagle at eyrie.org)             <https://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

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