[LEAPSECS] a modest proposal

John Hein jhein at timing.com
Sun Feb 10 00:19:23 EST 2008

Steve Allen wrote at 20:47 -0800 on Feb 9, 2008:
> On Sat 2008-02-09T23:44:40 -0500, John Cowan hath writ:
> > Steve Allen scripsit:
> > > There are very few systems which are not POSIX compliant, and not
> > > capable of updating their zoneinfo.
> >
> > I confess I didn't see where the satire came in until here.
> Can we identify and enumerate them?

'Twould take some time.

All the same systems that could not update their leap seconds
table... and more.

Those systems that have no connectivity or no [easy] mechanism for
receiving leap second updates (these are the systems for which people
have mentioned they would like leap second tables out to 10 years in
the future or more) will be similarly out of luck for receiving
zoneinfo files.

At least _some_ deployed systems have been manhandled (it's not
pretty) to get leap second updates (via GPS, for instance). Those
systems have no mechanism to get zoneinfo files.

Not to mention many of these systems specifically and purposefully
don't care about time zones _because_ of the zoneinfo updating

That said, I understand where you're coming from. Now if we could
even take it a step further. If only we can convince people and their
computer clocks to stop using UTC and just use TI (a non-leap-second
timescale) for figuring out when to pick their kids up from school,
then the systems I've described will no longer be mandated to provide
UTC (!). Then the time everyone uses for daily life can freely drift
off from solar time, our progeny can casually ponder the days when it
used to be sunny at noon, and UTC can be relegated to historical
applications of time rather than real time ones. Yes, that would make
life easier for lots of systems.


p.s. add to the bureaucratic hurdles you mentioned the task of
convincing the zoneinfo maintainers to sign on to the job of keeping
leap seconds, too. Not rocket science, but it is more work for them
to do.

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