It was decided to abandon leap seconds they caused

It was decided to abandon leap seconds – they caused crashes in computers

The International Bureau of Weights and Measures in France has decided to abandon the practice of introducing leap seconds, originally intended to reflect changes in the speed of the Earth’s rotation. Computer systems reacted too painfully to this practice, and leap seconds did more harm than good.

    Image source: PIRO /

Image source: PIRO /

In 2012, the Linux kernel’s inability to handle leap seconds caused numerous crashes; Difficulties repeated themselves in the years 2015 and 2016. The rejection of leap seconds has been discussed since at least 2013 – they endanger the stable operation of computing and telecommunications systems. Recently, representatives of the largest tech companies talked about how they are trying to solve the problem: in particular, engineers from Meta* They “blur” them in time for 17 hours, but it is recommended to stop this practice altogether.

final Solution (PDF) was passed last week at the 27th General Conference of the International Bureau of Weights and Measures: There will be no more leap seconds. The scientists justified their decision with the fact that the speed of the Earth’s rotation is constantly changing, and in the foreseeable future it is likely that a second will have to be subtracted rather than added, although this has never happened in global practice . The Bureau also revised its position on the errors that a leap second can cause in computer systems.

Instead of extra seconds, the organization’s experts suggested installing them “a new maximum difference value (UT1-UTC) that ensures UTC continuity for at least a century”. Universal time UT1 is calculated proportionally to the rotation speed of the earth relative to the quasars, and the UTC value is set by specialists. At the 28th General Conference in 2026, the International Bureau of Weights and Measures is expected to vote on a resolution setting a maximum difference between UT1 and UTC by 2035.

* It is included in the list of public associations and religious organizations for which the court made a final decision to liquidate or ban activities on the grounds provided for in Federal Law No. 114-FZ of July 25. 2002 “On Countering Extremist Activities”.


About the author

Robbie Elmers

Robbie Elmers is a staff writer for Tech News Space, covering software, applications and services.

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