[LEAPSECS] BBC article

Tom Van Baak tvb at LeapSecond.com
Fri Nov 4 20:58:08 EDT 2011

> I think this is because GPS is one of the systems which was designed

> robustly with the notion that configuration changes are a routine part

> of the operation, so a leap second is just another routine change.

It's not just GPS. In general any system today that already has an
automatic or manual method to handle leap seconds will be fine if
no leap seconds were to be announced in the future. This includes
GPS, NTP, international time codes (e.g., DCF77, WWVB), PC's
running any OS, etc. These systems already go years with no leap
second (there were none for 7 years after 1999). To them, eliminating
leap seconds is the same as not having a leap second for a while, a
very long while.

As you know, the only trouble will be with systems that, for valid or
accidental reasons, use UTC when they mean UT1, or assume that

|DUT1| is always less than 1 s. But the varying levels of pain that

result will be spread very gradually over many decades as DUT1
grows beyond a second, to tens of seconds, to minutes.

Speculating what will happen to timekeeping over centuries or
millennia is another matter. We all know even the existing system
of UTC will become awkward when leap seconds are needed every
month, or every week, or every day, etc. I have no idea how to
solve that; or if anyone today has an obligation, or right to.


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