[LEAPSECS] Schedule for success

Poul-Henning Kamp phk at phk.freebsd.dk
Tue Dec 30 07:11:35 EST 2008

In message <20081230115745.GR2263 at fysh.org>, Zefram writes:

>The fact that UTC is a close approximation to UT is a visible feature on

>which users can rely.

The crucial question, which nobody seems to be able to give an example
of, is users who _DO_ rely on this being the case, and if any such
users do exist, what their DUT1 tolerance is.

>The kind of places you're talking about that refer to "UTC" by name,

>the ones that don't really need UTC, are the same kind of places that

>refer to "GMT" by name and then actually use UTC.

A lot of these places use UTC (or GMT) because of laws, regulations,
standards and requirement documents.

We can argue until the cows come home, if that constitutes a "valid
need for UTC" seem from a scientific point of view, but that would
not change their legal need one iota.

>You can't fix this problem of incorrect nomenclature usage by changing

>the meaning of one of the names.

There used to be (probably still is) a regulation that mandated that
London cabs carry a bale of hay for the horses and which allowed the
driver to relive himself in the shadow of his vehicle so as to not
leave the horse unattended.

The requirement that UTC track earth rotation to within 1 second has
the same level of relevance and can be abolished with the same level
of consequences.

And as for confusion, adding yet another timescale would certainly
not lessen the confusion any.


Poul-Henning Kamp | UNIX since Zilog Zeus 3.20
phk at FreeBSD.ORG | TCP/IP since RFC 956
FreeBSD committer | BSD since 4.3-tahoe
Never attribute to malice what can adequately be explained by incompetence.

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