[LEAPSECS] What's the point?

Warner Losh imp at bsdimp.com
Thu Feb 10 19:39:19 EST 2011

On 02/10/2011 17:22, Mark Calabretta wrote:

> On Fri 2011/02/11 02:14:11 +0200, Paul Sheer wrote

> in a message to: Leap Second Discussion List<leapsecs at leapsecond.com>


>> Why is because there is a semi-infinite number of existing

>> lines of code, right now in use, that calculate the day from

>> the second and visa-versa using,


>> d = t / 86400

>> t = d * 86400

> And this code is going to be running 10000+ years from now?

I imagine some variation will be :) It will likely be translated, maybe
mechanically, into a few dozen different languages along the way, and it
is hard to say which bits of code that are extant today will survive
that period of time (since after all 10,000 years ago nobody was
speaking anything like what we speak today anywhwere on the planet
(although linguists will tell us that proto versions of the major
languages likely existed in that time frame)).

I've used data visualization and manipulation systems that started out
life on a PDP-11, were ported to the VAX running Fortran-77, then ported
to linux with a fortran to C conversion program and then heavily
augmented and hacked from there. The code-base was started in the 70's
and has survived over 40 years and is still going strong... I'm sure
there are a number of assumptions in the code that were true in 1975 or
1985 that are no longer true today, but that nobody has noticed being

Without a plan, people will keep doing what they are doing now. Today's
code might not be around in 10k years, but if people don't come up with
a plan, then code written 1k or 5k years from now will still have the
same problems.


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