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Copyright (C) 1999-2000, International Business Machines Corporation
and others. All Rights Reserved.
Readme file for ICU time zone data (source/tools/gentz)
The time zone data in ICU is taken from the UNIX data files at<year>. The other input to the
process is an alias table, described below.
Two tools are used to process the data into a format suitable for ICU: directory of raw data files + tz.alias -> tz.txt
gentz tz.txt -> tz.dat (memory mappable binary file)
After gentz is run, standard ICU data tools are used to incorporate
tz.dat into the icudata module.
In order to incorporate the raw data from that source into ICU, take
the following steps.
1. Download the archive of current zone data. This should be a file
named something like tzdata1999j.tar.gz. Use the URL listed above.
2. Unpack the archive into a directory, retaining the name of the
archive. For example, unpack tzdata1999j.tar.gz into tzdata1999j/.
Place this directory anywhere; one option is to place it within
3. Run the perl script, passing it the directory location as a
command-line argument. On Windows system use the batch file
tz.bat. The output of this step is the intermediate text file
4. Run source/tools/makedata on Windows. On UNIX systems the
equivalent build steps are performed by 'make' and 'make install'.
The tz.txt file is typically checked into CVS, whereas the raw data
files are not, since they are readily available from the URL listed
For backward compatibility, we define several three-letter IDs that
have been used since early ICU and correspond to IDs used in old JDKs.
These IDs are listed in tz.alias. The script processes this
alias table and issues errors if there are problems.
All *system* zone IDs must consist only of characters in the invariant
set. See utypes.h for an explanation of what this means. If an ID is
encountered that contains a non-invariant character, complains.
Non-system zones may use non-invariant characters.
Users may be confused by the fact that various zones with names of the
form Etc/GMT+n appear to have an offset of the wrong sign. For
example, Etc/GMT+8 is 8 hours *behind* GMT; that is, it corresponds to
what one typically sees displayed as "GMT-8:00". The reason for this
inversion is explained in the UNIX zone data file "etcetera".
Briefly, this is done intentionally in order to comply with
POSIX-style signedness. In ICU we reproduce the UNIX zone behavior
faithfully, including this confusing aspect.
Alan Liu 1999