[LEAPSECS] Testing computer leap-second handling

Warner Losh imp at bsdimp.com
Mon Jul 9 11:53:51 EDT 2012

On Jul 9, 2012, at 9:17 AM, Rob Seaman wrote:

> On Jul 9, 2012, at 7:21 AM, Warner Losh wrote:


>> The biggest problem with leap seconds is the attitude "Well, it is only a second, I don't have to worry about getting it right."


> I can't say that's the operative attitude. More generally the response seems to be "Say wha?!?"

That *ABSOULTELY* is the operative attitude. Report a bug that affects only leap seconds in a package, and you'll be laughed at. Try to bring up the leap second in most computing contexts and people roll their eyes at the annoying pedant in the corner who needs to get a life...

>> Turns out, getting them wrong can have worse effects than things being off by a second. Summarizes a key point I've been making for years... Leap seconds are hard, so no body bothers to get them right... I get shot as the messenger, when really the problem is much more deeply engrained in the computer community.


> There are multiple messages and messengers. More deeply engrained yet is the simple fact that "day" on any planet, dwarf planet, or (spheroidal) moon means the synodic day. There are one fewer days per year than rotations. Orbital mechanics and the geophysics behind Earth orientation are hard, but the fact that we lap the Sun once per year is simple.

I'd say that's universal among astronomers, and people would give you the same annoying pedant in the corder scowls that leap second messengers get when you mention it outside astronomical domains.


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