[LEAPSECS] Leap Sec vs Y2K

Paul Sheer p at 2038bug.com
Fri Dec 10 17:40:24 EST 2010

> Pray tell what authority you have for this pronouncement ?

I am totally confused where you got this idea that most of the worlds
servers tick over in sync, like a "We Will Rock You" resitation at
Wembly stadium. In fact it is more like the applause at the end of a
football game.

On my desk are about five computers. All of their clocks say a different
thing and they all work just fine together. I have a Mac, PC, Sun, and
two Linux boxes.

At the ISP I consult for there are about 20 servers serving 60,000
customers. Their clocks routinely go out of sync and it doesn't affect

At my previous job at Telkom there were hundreds of server machines
serving 20,000,000 customers. Very few of them were NTP synced. Why?
because NTP was blocked by the over-zealous firewall admins.

When I came to work for my present company (which provides most of the
worlds telecom equipment) the same thing was true: all our software
works fine with local BIOS clock: it's specified in our ops manual that
NTP is merely "recommended".

Finally, because NTP can easily be spoofed, many admins explicitly
DISABLE it fearing the consequence of one's server time suddenly reading
1970-01-01 or something wierd. Even THAT doesn't necessarily cause an

Yes I have not forgotten the examples you mentioned: the factory that
stops ops on 31 June, and "other" client of yours that you can't say
anything about for fear of being arrested like Julian Assange.


On Fri, 2010-12-10 at 19:01 +0000, Poul-Henning Kamp wrote:

> In message <2116222274-1292007095-cardhu_decombobulator_blackberry.rim.net-4042

> 47826- at bda950.bisx.prod.on.blackberry>, p at 2038bug.com writes:

> >

> >> very much need to know and agree what time it is.

> >

> >Yes but mostly only to an accuracy of minutes.


> Pray tell what authority you have for this pronouncement ?


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