FW: TAI zone?

Olson, Arthur David (NIH/NCI) [E] olsona at dc37a.nci.nih.gov
Wed Jun 29 17:16:33 UTC 2011

I'm forwarding this message from David Magda, who is not on the time zone mailing list; those of you who are on the list, please direct replies appropriately.

From: David Magda [dmagda at ee.ryerson.ca]
Sent: Wednesday, June 29, 2011 11:26 AM
To: tz at lecserver.nci.nih.gov
Subject: TAI zone?

[Not a subscriber, so please CC.]


There's been some discussion of removing leap seconds from UTC, as some
people need/want a more predictable and deterministic time scale. [1]
Given that International Atomic Time [2] exists, there doesn't seem to be
an easy way to reference it.

Is there any reason why a TAI "time zone" ("TZ=TAI; export TZ") is not
present for those that want to ignore leap seconds? I noticed that some
Linux distributions have a "right/" directory [3] to deal with this in
some way:

> Two different versions are provided:
> - The "posix" version is based on the Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).
> - The "right" version is based on the International Atomic Time (TAI),
>   and it includes the leap seconds. [...]
> - TZDIR=/usr/share/zoneinfo/posix TZ=Europe/Paris on a system with
>   hardware clock set to UTC.
> - TZDIR=/usr/share/zoneinfo/right TZ=Europe/Paris on a system with
>   hardware clock set to TAI.


[1] http://cacm.acm.org/magazines/2011/5/107699-the-one-second-war/fulltext
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Atomic_Time
[3] /usr/share/doc/tzdata/README.Debian

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