[LEAPSECS] Regarding the ITU's very immodest proposal

Poul-Henning Kamp phk at phk.freebsd.dk
Tue Feb 12 10:03:46 EST 2008

In message <978E42EC-2ADC-4C8D-80B4-68C919632266 at noao.edu>, Rob Seaman writes:

>Every comment about some challenge facing an alternative proposal

>(such as Steve's) represents a mirror challenge that should be clearly

>addressed in a carefully drafted proposal for the ITU scheme.

Yes, but you seem to misunderstand what ITU is and what it does.

ITU is just a forum for holding referendums on documents.

>Just some of the questions that should be addressed before proceeding

>to adopt any change to UTC:


>1) What funding is required? Where will that funding come from?

ITU in general do not consider money in any form.

They have several times proposed big technical schemes that would
have cost fortunes for no realistic benefit of the same scale.

All we have to show for vast amount of wated money on the earlier
mentioned OSI protocol, is the fact that LDAP is X.500 based and
SNMP and cryptography uses ASN.1.

>2) How will timekeeping roles change? What organizations will fulfill

>these roles?

Nothing will change for ITU, since ITU does not have any operational

BIPM gets a job less, but that and any other change is not ITUs
problem, these are all left as an exercise to the member countries.

>3) Eventually the embargoed leap seconds must be released. How will

>this happen?

"This is subject for further study"

This is what ITU writes about any hard problem, such as the conversion
from voice to teletex in the X.400 email standard.

Compared to some of the other issues ITU has pushed in front of it,
this one is quite benign.

>4) Is there some connection with the standard time zone offsets? How

>will this be handled?

This is not relevant to ITU, time zones are under memberstates

>5) What risks are being mitigated by the change? How is improvement

>to be evaluated?

These at the kind of things member countries should think carefully
about before they vote.

>6) What risks may be introduced by the change? How will the new risks

>be gauged?


>7) What communities will be disproportionately affected? How will

>this be mitigated?


>8) Redefining UTC will amplify the importance of DUT1. How will DUT1

>be promulgated?

That is also not ITU-s problem.

Whoever needs DUT1 propagation, will have to solve that. (Subject,
of course, to T&F transmission formats and frequency allocation,
which is ITU's resort, should they opt for radio broadcasting.)

>(Not exhaustive and in no particular order. Others will likely occur

>to you.)

But these are not the questions in front of ITU, the question in
front of ITU is limited to: "Will this proposal be approved, yes/no".

The work in WP7A and any other WP is just to weed out proposals
that will have no realistic chance of getting approval and to try
to avoid wasting effort with competing proposals.

The judgment of the proposals _actual_ merit happens before and
through the vote in plenum.

If you want to have an effect on that, find out who waves the flag
for your country, and convince them to wave the way you want.

In other words: You're barking up the wrong tree: yelling at
the secretary doing the text-procesing will not help your cause.


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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