[time-nuts] Could computers represent the timestamp differently?

Peter Vince petervince1952 at gmail.com
Fri Dec 23 08:10:30 EST 2016

It seems to me that the major problem with the leap-second is the inability
of current computer operating systems to represent it, and this is due to
their using a second count since 1970 rather than writing it out as we
would by hand.  While it doubtless made sense in the days of floppy discs
to squeeze tha date and time into a single 4-byte number, with modern
communication speeds and storage media capacities, that no longer seems to
be a requirement.  The (numerical) date and time could be packed into 24
ASCII characters, 12 if BCD was used.  Would it not make sense now for the
next generation of operating systems to do that?  Yes, those who need to
find the elapsed time between two time-stamps would still have a problem,
but isn't the overwhelming major requirement just to represent the
date/time, and be able to easily show if one timestamp is before or after


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