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Re: Data updates in debian packages

Christian Seiler <christian@iwakd.de> writes:
> On 10/30/2016 10:20 AM, Ole Streicher wrote:

>> IETF is responsible for internet standards, not for leap seconds. They
>> will take the leap seconds from IERS. I would assume that this
>> connection is well-established to rely on it. I was not so much
>> questioning upstream here, but I worry a bit about the Debian package
>> for tzdata: how sure can I be that the tzdata is actual (wrt upstream)?

> Regular stable updates (via stable/updates, not only point releases)
> happen for that package, in addition to regular uploads to unstable.
> See the timeline in:
> https://tracker.debian.org/pkg/tzdata

> From what I can tell, this is probably the package that's updated in
> stable most consistently in the entirety of Debian. I would really
> recommend that you rely on tzdata directly, this will also save the
> release team a lot of work. (It's much easier for them to approve just a
> single package than 100 packages that need the time zone and/or leap
> second information.)

Speaking as a long-time lurker of the tz mailing list, I would recommend
confirming with upstream that they intend to be a timely (enough) source
for leap second information, as I believe that has been a bit
controversial.  Note that leap second information is used in the tzdata
package for a fairly ancillary purpose (the maintenance of the "right"
time zones, which almost no one uses), and is not a primary goal of the

tzdata definitely just takes a copy of leap second information from IERS
(actually, I think they may pull the data from NIST, which gets it from
IERS).  IERS is the correct upstream source.

If many Debian packages want a high-quality, timely source of leap
seconds, it might be better to have a separate package devoted to that, so
that any update timeliness is not entangled with issues with tzdata.  That
said, tzdata is, as mentioned, a very reliably updated package in Debian
stable releases, so if upstream is willing, maybe it's fine to rely on

The required timeliness depends a lot on what you're using leap seconds
for, and in particular if you need to know about them far in advance, or
if it's only necessary to have an updated table before the leap second
itself arrives.

Russ Allbery (rra@debian.org)               <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

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