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

Thomas A. Horsley tom.horsley at att.net
Wed Aug 10 23:46:41 UTC 2005


>    There is fundamental disconnect between two very different views about 
>time. One is that time is how long has elapsed from a reference point. The 
>other is that time is when the sun rises.

There's not a "disconnect", there really are multiple kinds of time.  That's
why we have (for instance) both UTC and TAI. Just as people don't tend to do
long division with roman numerals anymore, they shouldn't be trying to force
UTC to act like TAI if what they ought to be using in their mission critical
application is TAI, then that's what they should use.

What we really need is the addition of a UTC->TAI correction factor to the
NTP protocol and the addition of TAI based time system services to all the
popular operating systems. That seems far less intrusive than a complete
change to what UTC actually means, and could almost certainly be done
with open source libraries.

If both time systems are readily available on computers and you still argue
UTC should change, then what you are really arguing is that all the
programmers working on all these critical apps are too stupid to make the
right choice, and if you have such stupid programmers working on this stuff,
you have bigger problems than leap seconds :-).
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