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According to Meta, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and two government organizations, leap seconds—which synchronize clocks with the Earth’s rotation—cause more issues than they are worth.

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A public campaign to eliminate the leap second, a sporadic extra tick that maintains clocks in line with the Earth’s true rotation, was launched on Monday by Google, Microsoft, Meta, and Amazon. Authorities on timekeeping in the US and France agree.

The International Atomic Time, the world’s official timekeeping standard, has added a leap second 27 times since 1972. (TAI). At midnight, 23:59:60 is added rather than converting to 0:0:0 as usual. Computers, which depend on a network of precise timekeeping servers to schedule events and to record the precise sequence of activities like adding data to a database, get a lot of indigestion from that.

They claim that the temporal adjustment has more negative effects than positive ones, such as internet disruptions. The group asserts that dealing with leap seconds is essentially pointless because historically speaking, the Earth’s rotating speed hasn’t altered all that much.

According to research scientist Ahmad Byagowi of Facebook’s parent company Meta, if we just keep to the TAI sans leap second observation, we should be fine for at least 2,000 years. “Perhaps then we ought to think about a correction.

The US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and its French equivalent, the Bureau International de Poids et Mesures, concur that it’s time to abandon the leap second (BIPM).

Given that governments and scientists, not technology corporations, are ultimately in charge of the world’s global clock system, official backing is essential.

Huge Reddit outages, as well as related issues at Mozilla, LinkedIn, Yelp, and airline booking firm Amadeus, were brought on by the leap second transition in 2012. A Cloudflare bug involving leap seconds in 2017 caused a portion of its customers’ servers to go offline. Comparing two clocks, the Cloudflare program determined that time had gone backward but was unable to handle that conclusion.

Computers are very proficient in counting. However, human interference, such as leap seconds, might throw a monkey wrench into the system. One of the most notorious was the Y2K problem, in which human-authored databases only kept track of the previous two years.

Additionally, some websites crashed earlier this year when web browsers reached version 100 since they were designed to only handle two-digit version numbers.

Google invented the concept of the “leap smear,” which introduces the leap second’s modifications in a number of modest stages throughout the course of a day to reduce the issues with computer clocks that don’t like 61-second minutes.

Computers have issues when there is a leap second added. And eventually we’d have to delete one as well, which has never happened and would probably bring up fresh issues.

Oleg Obleukhov, a Byagowi and Meta engineer, wrote in a blog post on Monday that it “may have a devastating effect on the program relying on timers or schedulers.”

Source: https://www.cnet.com/tech/computing/tech-giants-try-banishing-the-leap-second-to-stop-internet-crashes/

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