[LEAPSECS] a modest proposal

Poul-Henning Kamp phk at phk.freebsd.dk
Sun Feb 10 03:52:04 EST 2008


Your proposal is commendable, nuanced and well thought out.

I think you underestimate some of the technical and practical
issues, but that can be hashed out.

But how do you propose to get the attention of the people who
will need to allocate significant IT resources and budget to
these changes ?

WP7A isn't going to be able to.

At the very moment WP7A comes out with anything that would indicate
software updates, all civilized countries will run home, do hearings
and study groups and come back and say "This is far too expensive,
and we can see no sufficient big benefit for the expenditure".

Try to study what happened when ITU changed the channel grid to
9kHz in Europe. That was a change that merely involved changing
some crystals and tuning some radios a bit. The only reason they
got it through in the end, was that it enabled some very big european
countries getting more broadcasting channels.

Leapseconds carry no such political benefit and will not get the
necessary attention, which is, btw, one of the major arguments
against them: people do not take them seriously.

If a leap second caused a big catastrofe, people would take leap
seconds seriously, and they would be gone, before WP7A could even
order coffee for their next meeting.

So yes, you have outlined a possible technical fix, but that is not
the problem that is hard to solve, the one you need to solve first
is "who is going to pay, and how do we make them ?"


Poul-Henning Kamp | UNIX since Zilog Zeus 3.20
phk at FreeBSD.ORG | TCP/IP since RFC 956
FreeBSD committer | BSD since 4.3-tahoe
Never attribute to malice what can adequately be explained by incompetence.

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