[LEAPSECS] happy anniversary pips

Brooks Harris brooks at edlmax.com
Wed Feb 12 13:59:46 EST 2014

On 2014-02-12 09:46 AM, Warner Losh wrote:

> On Feb 12, 2014, at 9:54 AM, Brooks Harris wrote:


>> On 2014-02-12 08:09 AM, Rob Seaman wrote:

>>> There are many much more complex computer science challenges. In fact, the entire purpose of these things called computers is to deal efficiently with hellaciously complicated problems. This problem ain't that intractable.


>> Yes. I've never been able to understand why facing the guts of this problem has been evaded. Its a great computer-science project - it should be fun!

> The problem stems not because one person can't climb the complexity hill to get it right: several have. The problem comes more from the large numbers of people in my industry that have failed to climb the complexity hill due to apathy, incompetence or both.

Sure, but its hard in the absence of standards as you say, so apathy
might be avoidance. Its not hard to be incompetent here either - you
really have to study carefully to get all the pieces straight, and then
you're still left with loose ends. Its frustrating.

> Coupled with the 'it is only a second' attitude that prevails,

Yeah, thats the one I don't get. You'd think engineers would strive for
accuracy. But if it looks like a death march they are likely to make
excuses to avoid it, I'd guess.

> these problems make it extremely difficult to build a system based on any third party components that gets things right, especially with the standards stacked against you...



Its the lack of clarity in the standards together with the long legacy
of flawed implementations for many reasons that makes the political
landscape so daunting. But the problem has such broad consequences I
can't believe people don't want to solve it.

I think the ITU needs more than "why Leap Seconds should be retained".
They need something like "here's a better way to explain it and a better
way to disseminate it". And the computer industry needs champions of the
approach to lead refinements of API specs, etc. With that it might take
hold and the implementations would mature.


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