Fwd: [LEAPSECS] Longer leap second notice

From: Rob Seaman <seaman_at_NOAO.EDU>
Date: Wed, 4 Jan 2006 09:43:38 -0700

On Jan 3, 2006, at 5:46 PM, Warner Losh wrote:

> As someone who has fought the battles, I can tell you that a simple
> table is 10x or 100x easier to implement than dealing with parsing
> the data from N streams. Sure, it limits the lifetime of the
> device, but a 20 year limit is very reasonable.

Simpler is indeed better - if it satisfies the requirements. While
we're at it - how about a table to describe worldwide daylight saving
rules? Oh right - we already have that :-) What we don't have is a
mechanism to force the U.S. Congress not to change the rules out from
under us. Retaining the flexibility to easily change the rules is
one of our requirements.

Twenty years does seem reasonable. Would suggest this might be
marketed as an extended cadence maintenance requirement, rather than
as an expiration date - suspect astronomers aren't the only ones to
rely on 30 year old computers on occasion. I would heartily agree
with the notion that a twenty year horizon is about appropriate for
expecting to reach any decision on the future of UTC. We'd be a lot
further ahead on this if a closed door decision hadn't been rushed
for the imagined benefit of the few. In the mean time, there are
many members of the astronomical software community who would be
happy to contribute to an effort to improve time handling
infrastructure and standards, rather than spending their own precious
time fending off ill conceived political machinations.

> If we could have a table for the next 20 years, there'd be no need
> to even write the code to get from the GPS stream :-)

And if latitude and longitude were engraved on every street corner,
there would be no need for GPS at all :-) Transport of time signals
to remote locations is the whole point.

> I know you aren't pursuaded by such arguements.

I'm prepared to be persuaded by complete, coherent proposals based on
real world (and real economic) concerns.

But should any of us be open to persuasion by a "political tool to
make the proposal go through without commiting anybody to anything
for the next couple of hundred of years"?

> I find your dismissive attitude towards software professionals that
> have implemented a complete leap second handling infrastructure,
> with pluggable sources for leap second rather annoying :-(

Indeed, I'm sure I've exhausted my scant store of good will again.
It must be obvious that my intent was to come out swinging after the
leap second - just as the obvious intent of the folks pushing the
proposal is to use any reports of systems failing to appropriately
handle the leap second as fodder for renewing their efforts. That
said, if there are such reports, let's hear them and get to work
together (for once). (Some might consider me a software professional
as well - am not particularly annoyed if you do not.)

Would be delighted to hear more about your leap second infrastructure.

Rob Seaman
National Optical Astronomy Observatory
Received on Wed Jan 04 2006 - 08:44:46 PST

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