[LEAPSECS] UTC Redefinition Advanced

Nero Imhard nimh at pipe.nl
Sat Oct 23 03:08:19 EDT 2010

On 2010-10-23, at 02:14, Jonathan E. Hardis wrote:


> You're free to insert an inexpensive interface box between your data source and the systems that use the data that adds or subtracts however many integer number of seconds you wish. For example, it would be trivial to set a private collection of NTP servers that provide a well-documented time offset from other NTP servers that maintain UTC.

I've been told that this is not as easy as it sounds. At least it would require a protocol change, or else you will end up with incompatible but (protocol-wise) indistinguishable sets of servers. Endless grief will ensue.

But in my opinion the whole discussion on who would suffer and how much is quite irrelevant and something of a red herring as it distracts from the real issue: how on earth it is possible to even consider such a fundamental change in an existing time scale in mid-flight. The whole idea that it is reasonable for the ITU to ponder, let alone decide this is quite absurd.

UTC was designed to stay near UT. Refining the mechanism through which UTC tracks earth rotation would be quite reasonable. Demolishing the mechanism is insane. In the back of my head I still expect to wake from this bad dream some time.

> In other words, if you want a time scale that preserves leap seconds, you're perfectly free to maintain one yourself for astronomical purposes -- whether or not the rest of the world follows suit.

Well, if you want a time scale that has no leap seconds, you're perfectly free to switch from UTC to that time scale. And if you are tied to "legal time", you should get your legislator to switch time scales (or drop your obligation).

Im my world, systems that have problems with leap seconds are either repaired or switched to TAI, but now the ITU is pushing for a copout "solution" that affects the whole world.


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