Re: [LEAPSECS] The real problem with leap seconds

From: Poul-Henning Kamp <>
Date: Sat, 07 Jan 2006 16:02:04 +0100

In message <>, Ed Davies writes:

>Ignoring the ridiculous parody - no, it's not a weird concept.
>Different timescales are useful for different purposes. Get
>used to it.

I have no problems with different timescales for different purposes.

For instance I very much wish the Astronomers would start to use
UT1, which is very much "their" timescale, and stop abusing UTC,
which isn't, as a "convenient approximation".

But I have big problems with people who want to introduce more
timescales without thinking through the legal and technical

>The question is, where in the range of possible timescales is
>it most useful to put civil time.

Civil time is in the hands of individual governments, and they
tend to expect their computers to use the same time as the
rest of their country.

Nobody here is in any position to do anything about civil time
or legal time, neither are we in a position to introduce a
"computer time scale" in a pathetic attempt to paste over leap

We can talk about _representation_ of a given timescale in computers,
but there are far too many laws to rewrite if we want to dictate
which timescale they should use.

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.
Received on Sat Jan 07 2006 - 07:12:59 PST

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