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

Ryan Malayter malayter at gmail.com
Wed Jun 17 20:56:20 UTC 2009

On Wed, Jun 17, 2009 at 3:01 PM, Rob<nomail at example.com> wrote:
> 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.

There's already a widely-known FTP site (ftp://elsie.nci.nih.gov/pub)
for the timezone data. So really, there's already a standard
distribution protocol. (I suppose you could say "Windows Update" is an
equivalent, competing protocol).

The real problem is that all endpoint operating systems and in some
cases applications need to use the same timezone data schema and
names, and update their zone info automatically. In reality, the UNIX
world for the most part uses zoneinfo format, Windows another format,
and a huge number of applications solve the problem in their own way
(ignoring the OS facilities).

Again, I suggest this is not a problem NTP (or even a new dedicated
protocol) can really solve. For example, a huge number of applications
- and even whole platforms - still don't understand Unicode character
sets 18 years after standardization.

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