Time Libraries Rough Draft

Ben Rudiak-Gould Benjamin.Rudiak-Gould at cl.cam.ac.uk
Fri Feb 11 04:28:33 EST 2005

Seth Kurtzberg wrote:

> Timekeeping is crucial for certain applications, which happen to be 
> the ones I work on. [...] If you ignore the realities of time (that 
> is, that the universe isn't much interested in our simplifications) 
> you get your satellite in the wrong place, and you lose $100 million. 
> [...] If it's worth doing, don't return the wrong answer. [...] The 
> universe doesn't stop for that period when POSIX pretends that it 
> does. [...] Given the choice of reality or POSIX, it seems to me that 
> reality is a more sensible choice.

I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill, and 
think things over.

You want the library to do the Right Thing. Great, we all do. But it's 
IMPOSSIBLE. If it were difficult, we would have just done it, and none 
of this long discussion would have happened.

What, precisely, do you want from a standard time library that Ashley 
Yakeley's proposal could provide and doesn't? Do you want it to 
interface with a GPS receiver, or connect to an Internet time server to 
get the current time? It doesn't make sense to include such things in an 
initial proposal. Once we have some basic datatypes for UTC and TAI 
times, then we can easily write other libraries with the appropriate 
functions of type IO AbsoluteTime.

-- Ben

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