[ntp:questions] Leap second functional question

Unruh unruh-spam at physics.ubc.ca
Fri Feb 22 10:22:34 UTC 2008

mayer at ntp.isc.org (Danny Mayer) writes:

>Unruh wrote:
>>>> Having ntp run on TAI would certainly be simpler, but would of course make
>>>> the time keeping on the system much more complicated.
>>> That question has already been discussed at length in this newsgroup.
>> And will keep getting discussed since there is no resolution which is
>> uniformly positive. 

>Actually no. We don't get a vote on this. This is being voted on by the 
>ITU (or whatever the replacement is for the CCITT) if I recall 
>correctly. It's a separate question whether or not NTP will continue 
>with UTC if they do something stupid with the decision.

I did NOT advocate tht the world run on TAI. I was suggesting that ntp do
so, and that computer systems run on TAI. This makes the translation from
internal time (seconds since epoch) to civil time (UTC) slightly more
complex. Not only does the timezone file need to be consulted, but the
leapsecond file does as well each time you translate from the computer's
internal time to UTC as civil time. UTC is far too uselful for civil time
to be thrown out. Just as the Gregorian calendar reforms were to keep civil
time in sync with the earth's revolution around the sun, so leapseconds
keep the day in sync with the rotation of the earth. Since life is based
around the latter it is good to have time reflect that. 
However it is not so good to have the conniptions in the internal time of
the computer try to keep track of that. Seconds since epoch is alrady so
abstract a concept that noone would notice that those seconds were real
seconds, rathr than second where a few a thrown away.


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