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17615Proposal: New Timezone package for OpenSlug

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  • Mike (mwester)
    Feb 4, 2007
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      Proposed: the addition of a new timezone package, to be named "tzdata", for

      This package would replace the set of packages named "timezone-*".

      The new package would be a single package, installing the entire set of
      timezone data files (/usr/share/zoneinfo), approximately 1.8 - 2.0 MBytes in
      total size. This is in contrast to the existing "timezone-*" packages,
      which allowed the user to install a single set of timezone files (such as
      "timezone-Africa", "timezone-Europe", etc).

      This package is necessary because the existing packages are out-of-date.
      Updating the existing packages to a newer version is not practical, due to
      the nature of the changes in the timezone data itself -- the original
      timezone data represents a collection of pre-compiled binaries that cannot
      be patched. The original timezone package was easily broken up into regions
      based on the structure of the data. The new timezone data does not map to
      the old structure, thus requiring a manual effort to map to the old
      structure. Finally, maintaining compatibility with the existing structure
      would result in timezone data on OpenSlug being handled in a different
      manner than the standard timezone data on any other up-to-date Linux system.

      Thus, the proposal is to provide a new package to replace the old one for
      those who wish the updated timezone information. Users who have never
      installed timezone data do not need to worry about this package; only users
      who have installed timezone data, and wish to update same. The installation
      process would require the removal of the "timezone-*" packages that might
      currently be installed, and the installation of the new "tzdata" package.
      The new package may take additional disk space, however it is small by
      current standards (1.8 to 2.0 MBytes). (It is possible, but not intuitive,
      to break up the tzdata package into smaller ones -- feedback will be
      appreciated if anyone feels strongly about this.) Note that if the user has
      set the symbolic link "/etc/localtime" to point to the correct file in
      /usr/share/zoneinfo, they may need to correct the link after installing the
      new tzinfo package.

      This is very much a sledge-hammer approach to the problem (it can be argued
      that the correct way to package timezone information is via glibc packages
      (ala "glibc-zoneinfo-*", for example)). However, it is straightforward, and
      will work without regard to the installed glibc version (within reason, of
      course). It is not suitable for devices that will be running from flash, or
      from very small USB memory sticks, due to size. Of course, the counter
      argument is that on such devices, the user should be hand-selecting the
      appropriate timezone file(s) in the first place, and that there really isn't
      a level of granularity in the package breakdown that meets the flash-only
      device's needs while still being practical to install and manage by the
      casual user.

      Comments, thoughts? Feel free to tell me this is a stupid idea - now's the
      time to change it *before* it ends up in the feeds!

      Note that this does *not* address Unslung -- I'm not quite sure what to do
      about that just yet. This is only for OpenSlug releases.

      Mike (mwester)
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