[arch-general] Country Name (ISO-3116) Issues

Pierre Schmitz pierre at archlinux.de
Mon Jul 2 04:20:54 EDT 2012

Am 02.07.2012 01:47, schrieb Tom Gundersen:
> On Sun, Jul 1, 2012 at 9:49 PM, Loui Chang <louipc.ist at gmail.com> wrote:
>> But as has been suggested maybe Arch should choose a different upstream
>> for this kind of information. Please open your mind a little, a false
>> standard is no standard at all.
> I had a look at ICU, but could not find any satisfactory
> documentation. They claim
> to take their data from the same ISO standard that we already use,
> but I could
> find no explanation for the discrepancy.
> To be a bit constructive: IMHO any proposal for a change must be made
> in general
> terms, and not by special-casing based on this issue. So, if we can
> find a new upstream
> that is comparable to ISO3166, but at the same time is somehow more
> "neutral", that
> would be something to consider I guess.

In addition to all the arguments why we cannot simply change country
names and we are in general the wrong people to ask for there are also
technical reasons to not make up our own names here. All kinds of
software and libraries support this naming standard which makes it
possible to map country names. For example I use geoip and our
mirrorlist to redirect users to the best mirror within their country.
There are probably other use cases which rely on the country names being

So yes, if you think your country is named wrongly in the standard you
should change this standard or create a new one which then needs to be
accepted by most software projects. We probably ship a lot of packages
using these names and patching all these ourselves is not the way to go.
And even if we would want to, on what should we base a decision?
Obviously there are different opinions how certain countries should be

However, one could switch to the two or three letter naming standard
which hopefully would be less controversial. It would also be less human
readable, but at least one would keep it technically valid.



Pierre Schmitz, https://pierre-schmitz.com

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