> I bet you'll get tired of updating that database.  There's a major difference
> between "You can do" and "You actually do".
If I solved this problem, I would write a script which checks server
ftp://elsie.nci.nih.gov/pub daily and updates gem if necessary and
configure cron to run it daily. That's all.
> What's that main problem?
1) Offset in time is useless without  tz database. Usually you want to
get time in particular place, not with particular offset.
2) Time, except small range, remains unportable between different
platforms.