[ntp:questions] Can or should the NTP protocol eventually serve timezone data?

Richard B. Gilbert rgilbert88 at comcast.net
Wed Jun 17 20:38:37 UTC 2009

Rob wrote:
> Richard B. Gilbert <rgilbert88 at comcast.net> wrote:
>> Joe wrote:
>>> Timezone data is fairly dynamic. It makes sense to have some form of
>>> network service to update timezone data. Does anyone know if there
>>> have been any proposals about a standardized timezone update protocol,
>>> or reasons why there should not be one? Since NTP is well established,
>>> maybe it could be expanded to include timezone data?
>> I don't think it's practical!  The legislatures of the various states 
>> can and do fiddle with it every year such that Arizona does not 
>> necessarily follow the same schedule as as South Dakota. The rules may 
>> not even be consistent from year to year.  It helps the legislatures 
>> concerned to appear as if they are actually doing something useful.
> Now you are just iterating the reasons why it would be useful to
> distribute this info via some network.  The question being asked is
> if it could be useful to use an NTP server to distribute it.  An
> alternative could be do use some HTTP server, a new dedicated protcol,
> or whatever method you could think of.
> The advantage of extending NTP could be that you only need to configure
> one server to know both time and zone info.
> And Yes, OFCOURSE you cannot use this to determine in what zone you
> are.  But once you know you are in Arizona or South Dakota, you can
> use the info to calculate your timezone offset (depending on date).

You don't need to extend NTP to do this.  Just put the file with the 
timezone data on an FTP server and tell us where it is.  Maybe a few 
dozen servers would be better.  I think there is even a "standard" way 
of expressing when ST/DST changes occurred for every year back to 1970 
and a file with the data.

Unfortunately it has disappeared into the sludge at the bottom of my mind!

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