[ntp:questions] Re: no more leap seconds?

Richard B. Gilbert rgilbert88 at comcast.net
Thu Aug 11 03:50:25 UTC 2005

Rich Schmidt wrote:

>Then in Oct. 2004 the US Working Group 7A submitted a proposal to
>eliminate  leap seconds in Dec. 2007, and to introduce leap hours, the
>first of which would not be needed for about 600 years (based on
>current analysis of historical observations of the Earth's rotation
>rate).  As with leap seconds, leap hours would not be regularly
>scheduled but only as needed, and 600 years would almost give enough
>time for programmers of the world to work leap seconds into their code.

Let's be realistic about this.   If the first leap hour does not occur 
for 600 years, programmers will not begin to consider the problem until 
about 2603 AD.    Can you say "Y2K all over again"?   I saw an article 
or letter to the editor defining the Y2K problem in, I think, Datamation 
in the 1970's.  This was at least twenty years before the fact.  When 
did anybody actually do anything about it?  Most shops did not even 
commence efforts to test and fix their software until late 1998 or early 
1999.   Would *you* invest a great deal of money in an effort that would 
show no return for 600 years?

By the time 2603 rolls around, there will be will 10^20 lines of code 
that will need to be modified.  The source for at least half of the 
affected  code will be incomplete or missing altogether.  The problem 
will be worked around by agreeing to add an extra leap day 12,000 years 
in the future.

The system we have may, indeed, be flawed but it has worked "well enough".

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