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

Danny Mayer mayer at ntp.org
Tue Jun 23 12:50:47 UTC 2009

John Hasler wrote:
> Rob writes:
>> The offset from UTC is not the kind of timezone information that is being
>> discussed here.
> Sure it is.
>>  It cannot be distributed via NTP anyway, as the server does not know
>> where the client is and thus cannot give it the offset info.
> True.
>> The interesting information is the DST schedule in use at the different
>> areas.
> That is part of the timezone data.
>> The client will have to know in which area it is and then can request the
>> timezone information for that area, which tells it what the offset is at
>> that specific moment.
> The client may very well need information on zones other than the one it is
> located in.  It should check the nearest tzdata server for a standard
> tzdata file newer than the one it has and fetch it via a standard protocol
> from a well-known location on the nearest of a set of well-known servers.
> If it's an embedded system with minimal storage it can throw a way the
> stuff it doesn't need.
> We have a standard file.  Ftp will do fine as a protocol.  We just need to
> agree on a standard location for the current tzdata file and its timestamp
> and recruit a distributed set of servers.  The NTP pool servers would do
> nicely.  The client to periodically check for new tzdata files would be
> trivial.

No they wouldn't. They have committed themselves to provide time
information. You can get tzdata from an ftp site run by the us
government. NTP is not and should not be involved with this let alone
the pool servers.


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