First I'll describe my setup just to give you some context. If anyone
would like to discuss my ideas or propose their own ideas for
discussion, let's do so on -ADMIN or -GENERAL.

I have multiple production database clusters which I want to make
backups of. Restoring from plain dumps takes too long, so I made an
almost typical continuous archiving setup. The unusual assumption in
this case is that the standbys are all on a single machine and they are
not always running. There are multiple $PGDATA directories on the
backups machine, but only one postmaster running in standby mode,
replaying archived WAL files from each master. When it's finished
replaying them for one $PGDATA, it'll move to another. That way they all
will be sufficiently up to date while not requiring resources needed for
N replicas running all the time on a single machine. This of course
requires that the standbys are never promoted, never change the
timeline, etc. - they need to be able to keep replaying WAL files from
the masters.

I've achieved what I wanted essentially by setting standby_mode = on and
restore_command = 'cp /archivedir/%f "%p" || { pg_ctl -D . stop && false
; }', but I was looking for a more elegant solution. Which brings us to
the topic.

One thing I tried was a combination of recovery_target_action =
'shutdown' and recovery_target_time = 'now'. The result is surprising,
because then the standby tries to set the target to year 2000. That's
because recovery_target_time depends on timestamptz_in(), the result of
which can depend on GetCurrentTransactionStartTimestamp(). But at that
point there isn't any transaction yet. Which is why I'm getting
"starting point-in-time recovery to 2000-01-01 01:00:00+01".

At the very least, I think timestamptz_in() should either complain about
being called outside of transaction or return the expected value,
because returning year 2000 is unuseful at best. I would also like to
become able to do what I'm doing in a less hacky way (assuming there
isn't one already but I may be wrong), perhaps once there is a new
'furthest' setting for recovery_target or when recovery_target_time =
'now' works as I expected.

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