System.Time.Clock Design Issues

Keean Schupke k.schupke at
Thu Feb 3 08:16:42 EST 2005

Ashley Yakeley wrote:

>Time turns out to be complicated by nature, and it's not possible to be 
>as simple as we'd like and still be completely correct: there's a 
>trade-off between simplicity and correctness.
>I lean towards correctness myself, I think there are ways of managing 
>extra complexity. We might, for instance, be able to separate some of 
>the less-used functions into another module fairly sensibly.
>There's also a trade-off between simplicity and usefulness. My earlier 
>message has one idea of where to draw the line, as well as one way of 
>splitting the functionality:
>Simon suggested naming the two modules "System.Time.Clock" and 
>"System.Time.Calendar". These are the issues that seem to be remaining 
>for the "Clock" module:
>* Can we assume that gettimeofday always returns UTC rather than TAI 
One question... get timeofday assumes things about the time-system. I 
would be happier
with a 'gettime' call which returns some universal concept of time in an 
SI unit (which for
time is seconds, so microseconds/picoseconds whatever)

I am uncomfortable with introducing non SI notions of time interval like 
(even days) as these may vary...

I feel conversion into 'familiar; units should be done from this 
universal time... Especially if
anyone wants to write software for the Mars mission!


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