[time-nuts] Re: UTC

John Ackermann N8UR jra at febo.com
Thu Jul 28 08:29:07 EDT 2005

Mike S wrote:
> At 02:40 AM 7/28/2005, M. Warner Losh wrote...
>>The Turin leap second survey said that loss of life had occurred due
>>to a leap second insertion event.  
> That is a deliberately misleading statement. It MUST be the case that the loss of life occurred due to and improperly designed, incorrectly specified, or improperly used system. The person/organization at fault seeks to misplace blame.

I've stayed out of this argument, because frankly I don't have a strong 
view on the subject, but I don't think this is misleading at all.  The 
point Warner and Poul-Henning have been trying to make is that leap 
seconds will cause programming errors, and this seems to be (anecdotal 
and undetailed) evidence of that.

Certainly the death (if it occurred) was not an automatic result of the 
leapsecond, but rather was the result of something that broke because it 
wasn't properly programmed to deal with the leapsecond.  But that's the 
one of the points the anti-leapsecond folks are trying to make -- things 
will break, because the majority of programmers don't know how to, or 
that they even need to, program for leapseconds, and the infrequent and 
unpredictable occurrence of leapseconds makes it unlikely that situation 
will change.


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