[LEAPSECS] Civil timekeeping before 1 January 1972

Warner Losh imp at bsdimp.com
Sun Mar 8 17:00:10 EDT 2015

> On Mar 8, 2015, at 10:24 AM, Brooks Harris <brooks at edlmax.com> wrote:
> I think the only way the industry can eventually converge on reliable "civil time" representation is to refine the underlying time mechanisms in POSIX in some manner that allows a migration to a more comprehensive UTC implementation. I think if a new new POSIX time specification were to take shape it would add an option to the the conversation at ITU-R - instead of simply "to kill Leap Seconds or not" they'd also have "a viable migration path to comprehensive UTC timekeeping implementation" to consider.

I think you vastly underestimate the amount of effort this change would entail. We’d trade
an off by 1 second every other year problem for an off by 36s problem in many different

Even if we left time_t as a legacy thing, and defined a whole new set of interfaces that
did things pedantically correct, that’s a lot of effort to code and adopt. And there’s almost
no economic incentive to drive the change.

You’d need to change the “It’s just a second, who cares?” attitude before meaningful
progress can be made in getting leap seconds right.


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