[LEAPSECS] The leap second, deep space and how we keep time -Brooks

Poul-Henning Kamp phk at phk.freebsd.dk
Wed Jan 28 04:45:48 EST 2015



Ideally, all software should be flawless and bugfree.

This lofty goal would come at a cost, I don't think I need to convince
you that it would be a very high cost, for civilization as such.

We can argue if it would be worth the investment.

I personally think it could be, but on the balance of probabilities
it probably will not be.

We do not need to argue if it is going to happen, because it is not,
it would require draconian restrictions on free speech ("You cannot
share a program with anybody else until it has been reviewed,
formally tested etc. etc. etc.")

So taking it is a given that pedestrians will always be allowed to
program, no matter what we do, the question really is:  Do we try
to make it easier for them to not make mistakes ?

Abolising leap-seconds would make programming easier for all the
pedestrians, at the cost of minor extra effort for the time-nuts and
the rocket-scientists.

If leap-seconds cannnot be abolished, announcing them 10 years ahead
of time would still make it a lot easier for the pedestrians to not
mess up, at the cost of extra effort for operating system programmers.

Retaining leap-seconds in the hope, or even demanding, that the
pedestrians upgrade their programming skills is not credible however.

Poul-Henning Kamp       | UNIX since Zilog Zeus 3.20
phk at FreeBSD.ORG         | TCP/IP since RFC 956
FreeBSD committer       | BSD since 4.3-tahoe    
Never attribute to malice what can adequately be explained by incompetence.

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