January 9, 2015

Linux’s Creator Wants Us All to Chill Out About the Leap Second

The leap second is the rare and obscure practice of occasionally adding a second to the Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) system that most of us use to set our watches. Itâs necessary, but not exactly computer friendly. In 2012 it crashed websites such as Reddit and Yelp and snarled up airline departures in Australia, so youâd think most computer experts would really hate them. After all, we have perfectly accurate timekeeping systems, such as the one used by GPS, that donât futz with leap seconds.

But it turns out many computer folks are OK with the leap second, including Linuxâs creator, Linus Torvalds:

"Just take the leap second as an excuse to have a small nonsensical party for your closest friends.

"Wear silly hats, get a banner printed that says âLeap Second Doomsday Partyâ, and get silly drunk. Youâll blink, and itâs over, but at least youâll have the hangover next day to remind you of that glorious but fleeting extra second.

"And thatâs exactly how relevant it should be to most people."

Read more at Wired.

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