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

Magnus Danielson magnus at rubidium.dyndns.org
Fri Dec 23 14:19:50 EST 2016


There is so many ways to solve this, and most of them have already been 
discussed and nothing really happend.

Letting the time-stamp represent time in TAI and do UTC as presentation 
is less intrusive way of achieving the same thing. Yet, it has not 
happen. Essentially will the POSIX standard have to be amended but they 
have been trying to avoid leap-second handling for decades. There is 
even an email-list for discussion of this, see the leapsecond email list.

God Jul, Gott Nytt År och Glad Skott-sekund!
Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Happy Leap-second!


On 12/23/2016 02:10 PM, Peter Vince wrote:
> 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
> another?
> Peter
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