[LEAPSECS] What's the point?

Poul-Henning Kamp phk at phk.freebsd.dk
Tue Feb 8 10:05:46 EST 2011

In message <C222A54A-321E-4A5F-AD7A-EFB12A4FD136 at noao.edu>, Rob Seaman writes:

>Phrases like "tight coupling" are misleading. The ITU position

>has only ever been to remove *all* coupling. On this list we have

>often discussed various ways to relax the current constraints. It

>is the ITU who have been inflexible.

You are fudging things as usual.

The ITU proposal does not in fact talk about civil time at all, it
talks only about the timescale civil time is defined relative to: UTC.

The relationship between civil time and earth rotation is already
a decision for respective governments, who get to decide the offset
between civil time and UTC for their country.

History has shown that very few, if any, governments have been
unable to carry through their more or less well thought out policies
in this area.

Should your local government decide to keep the difference between
Earth Rotation and civil time less than some tolerance, they
are free to do so, by adjusting the civil time-UTC offset as
they please. As evidence of this, please note that there are
plenty of timezones not using multiple of 3600 seconds offsets.

The ITU proposal therefore neither loosens nor removes the coupling
between civil time and earth rotation. The ITU proposal transfers
that decision to the countries governments, where it belongs.


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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