Re: [LEAPSECS] Wall Street Journal Article

From: Poul-Henning Kamp <>
Date: Mon, 01 Aug 2005 19:36:11 +0200

In message <>, Rob Seaman writes:

>> this is only economically feasible in very critical systems.
>Economics is the "dismal science". If there is any validity at all
>to describing it as a science, inferences must be based on coherent
>experimental design. Where is the evidence that ceasing leap seconds
>won't be more expensive than continuing them? Should this not be
>part of any viable proposal?

Economics is not science. Economics is the current reality since
everything these days is (made) a matter of money.

And despite the fact that absense of evidence is not evidence of
absense, it would strengthen your case a lot if you can come up
with at least one relevant documented system that will get in
trouble by the change and which incurs significant cost because
of it.

If one such case were to be put on the table, the proponents of
abolishing leap seconds can no longer say "that is never a problem",
but will have to address your claim.

So far, I have not seen anything documented that would not be
considered "trivial costs" in this context.

[various snide comments ignored]

>>> I hope this API will one day be replaced by a much simpler and
>>> more generic one.
>> We can only hope, but to do so you'd have to get buyin from at
>> least [4xfooBSD, Linux, Dave Mills, Solaris, AIX] Of these Dave
>> Mills is probably the harder one.
>He's always seemed reasonable to me.

Dave is very reasonable, that is why he probably will be very
disinclined to change an ABI which works, even if it is unelegant.

>These are all very interesting questions. Why don't we simply drop
>this silly ITU proposal and finally start discussing the fundamental

Funny you should say that...

Whenever we try to raise some of the fundamental issues, we get
told by you that our computer systems should just be "done right"
and that anything involving money is not relevant unless it is
the astronomers money.

Faced with that, we on the other side take a similar polarized
position: "forget the astronomers if they are that disconnected
from the real world".

Quite frankly Rob, I think you are your opponents best argument right
now because you are being patently unreasonable and unflexible.

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 Mon Aug 01 2005 - 10:36:27 PDT

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