[LEAPSECS] POSIX and C (Was: Re: ISO Influence)

Tony Finch dot at dotat.at
Sat Dec 25 19:52:31 EST 2010

On 25 Dec 2010, at 17:07, Ian Batten <igb at batten.eu.org> wrote:


> Which is sort-of the point: that whatever the UK government's tactical movement around GMT, UTC or whatever might be, it isn't long-term, it isn't serious and it isn't in any way indicative of long-term policy.

"It isn't serious" is I think a pretty good summary of UK government precision time policy. It's evident from the Meridian Conference transcript that Britain didn't care about the result of the conference, because it would not affect the way the admiralty drew up its charts. Later on when international timekeeping was being established, the French were keen to set the standards and the British allowed the bureaucracy to be established in Paris not
London. After the war during the move of the RGO to Herstmonceaux precision timekeeping seems to have lost out to other considerations. Was there any link between the RGO's timekeeping work and the NPL's at that time? There must have been at some point a decision to move responsibility for time from the astronomers to the physicists before withdrawing funding for GMT and slowly abolishing the RGO. (I think a more serious policy would, like France and the USA, have kept both.)

As far as I can see the UK has only ever had a simple practical interest in timekeeping, and so long as that need is fulfilled the government has not cared about international pre-eminence nor pedantic details.

f.anthony.n.finch <dot at dotat.at> http://dotat.at/

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