Friday 23 February 2018

Leap second brings down top websites

The Telegraph

THE addition of a single ‘leap second’ at midnight crashed major websites including LinkedIn, FourSquare and Reddit.

The Earth’s official timekeepers added an extra second to the end of June so that clocks kept up with the planet’s rotation – but the world’s web servers couldn’t adjust with the unexpected addition.

Yelp, StumbleUpon, Mozilla and Gawker were also among the sites that suffered because of faults with the underpinnings of the web, including the Java application platform and the Linux operating system. Both of these use the internet’s Network Time Protocol (NTP) to keep in sync and hadn’t been prepared in advance.

Twitter: reddit status - You ever wish you had an extra second or two? This is not one of those times.

Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), the officially agreed international time, is relayed by NTP to the web. UTC averages 400 atomic clocks to produce a single figure. It, however, is fractionally different from the Earth’s rotation, which is affected by additional factors such as the tides, and so needs to be adjusted approximately every 18 months to keep accurate time.

Google, however, had been adding milliseconds in advance to each second throughout Saturday and was unaffected. There have now been 25 leap seconds added since they were introduced to atomic clocks in the Seventies. The search giant detailed how it responds to them in a blog post in September.

Twitter: reddit status - We are having some Java/Cassandra issues related to the leap second at 5pm PST. We're working as quickly as we can to restore service.

Reddit posted tweets to keep users informed, while one Mozilla engineer also posted a bug report online.

Wired reported that Marco Marongiu — a senior system administrator with Opera Software, the maker of the Opera browser — warned of the leap second bug with a blog post dated June 1, providing potential workarounds for the issue.

The International Telecommunications Union has, however, proposed that leap seconds be abolished. While British authorities want to keep it, other nations including France believe it poses a risk to globally important systems.

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