Re: [LEAPSECS] two world clocks

From: Rob Seaman <>
Date: Fri, 21 Jan 2005 12:39:19 -0700

Poul-Henning Kamp wrote (among other things, including doubting the
sobriety of Europeans):

> I cannot test leapsecond handling once per month.

A variety of proposals have been discussed over the past five years.
Somebody even made the suggestion that a positive or negative leap
second be issued every day. In that case an adjustment would be made
through the omission of a leap second. There are any number of
possibilities for improving (or, at least, changing) the underlying
technologies. The facts are two-fold:

1) Interested parties such as on this mailing list are left to talk to
themselves. Nobody on the inside of this rather fundamental decision
is apparently seeking to open the process up.

2) The technical details of improving the distribution of global time
signals has been deemed irrelevant to this decision. Rather, as PHK
continues to suggest, the only proposal on the table keys on tricking a
planet-full of blissfully ignorant people into disconnecting their
clocks from the rotation of the Earth.

There are two main classes of time in general use, interval time (e.g.,
TAI) and time-of-day (UTC). Both are needed for a variety of purposes.
  UTC is one way to capture both in a single civil time system. Perhaps
there are others. I personally happen to think that time-of-day is
logically and legally and historically the natural basis for civil
time. Perhaps you disagree. But I am completely unmoved by arguments
based on the incompetence of our fellow programmers or on the
pseudo-requirements of badly conceived engineering projects.

By all means, discuss the future of Coordinated Universal Time,
International Atomic Time and worldwide civil time. But carry on the
discussions publicly, invite interested parties from outside the narrow
confines of the precision timing community, and focus the discussions
on improving services, not castrating them.

Stop looking for a backdoor way to make this decision.

Rob Seaman
National Optical Astronomy Observatory
Received on Fri Jan 21 2005 - 11:40:42 PST

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